Barkitecture Austin 2007 Photos

27 10 2007

These were a few of our favorites… Click each picture to view. Want to know what these pictures are all about? Click here.

barkitecture_10_20_07-005.jpg    barkitecture_10_20_07-021.jpg    barkitecture_10_20_07-022.jpg

barkitecture_10_20_07-037.jpg    barkitecture_10_20_07-038.jpg    barkitecture_10_20_07-029.jpg 

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Block 21: W Hotel and Residences

24 10 2007

Last week the W Hotel and Residences officially broke ground. To be honest, it’s the first time I’ve seen the letter “W” downtown without an anti-symbol displayed with it. In fact, this seems to be a W that many Austinites are happy to welcome to town.

Block 21 of the 2ND Street District is now the construction site of a $260 million dollar project that once completed, will be home to a 35 story, Platinum LEED-certified structure designed by Arthur Andersson of Andersson-Wise. Here’s what’s planned for the site: 

  • 250 hotel guestrooms

  • 196 condos  

  • Austin City Limits Studio Theater (2,200 seats)

  • Spa and Pools

  • Signature bar and Restaurant

  • 25,000 sq ft of ground floor retail space (The sales staff shared with me a list of possible tenants including Uchi, Eddie V’s, and a high-end grocer)

Unfortunately, I probably will not become a lucky resident of the W Austin anytime soon, but that doesn’t stop me from daydreaming about the legendary “Whatever/Whenever” service the home owners will enjoy. If you’re unfamiliar with the experience, W/W stands for pretty much anything and everything you could possibly request… so long as it’s legal, which some would argue is a relative term here in Austin… Here are few examples of that delightful W/W service:

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The INHABIT INDEX: How to Know When It’s a Buyer’s or Seller’s Market?

22 10 2007


First it’s important to know the definition of both market conditions. In a sincere attempt to avoid insulting anyone’s intelligence, a buyer’s market is characterized by supply outpacing demand. In other words, there are too many homes on the market for the number of buyers. Typically, we see the following in a buyer’s market: 

  1. Flexibility in negotiating price.
  2. Added seller concessions (closing costs, repairs, etc.)

Conversely, a seller’s market is characterized by an insufficient level of supply for the ready, willing and able buyers. In a seller’s market, it’s common to see this happening: 

  1. Multiple offers.
  2. Shortened time on the market.

Regardless of when or where you want to move, generally the market is trending in one of two directions defined above. Yet, it is possible for the market to be stagnating in transition, which is all the more reason buyers and sellers need to anticipate which way the market will move. More specifically, you should have a clear understanding for which direction the particular neighborhood that you’re searching or selling in is trending. The real estate market is not monolithic. Some neighborhoods outperform others (see below).

Markets constantly fluctuate. Unfortunately, by the time we read about it in the paper, it’s already history. So apart from negotiating transactions on a regular basis how can you remain informed and know if Austin is presently a buyer’s or seller’s market? How can you know which way things are headed? (faint drum roll) ….Behold, the INHABIT INDEX. I developed and routinely update this index for my clients to easily gauge how supply and demand is faring in the Austin, Texas real estate market. Here’s how it works.

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30 Designers, 30 Doghouses: Barkitecture in 2ND Street District

17 10 2007


I’ve mentioned before, what attracts me to downtown Austin is that there’s something unique and  different to experience almost everyday. The conversations with people you meet, the condo developments going up and the events going on… this weekend is no exception. From noon to 6pm this Saturday you’ll find a pet-centric design competition taking place in the 2ND Street District. So what is it you ask?   

30 Designers, 30 Doghouses

“The 2ND Street District is pleased to announce Barkitecture Austin 2007, a doghouse design challenge benefiting local Austin animal rescue groups.

30 Austin architecture and design firms have been invited to unleash their creativity while working under a set of guidelines: The doghouses must contain some recycled and sustainable materials.

Awards for distinguished doghouse designs and winners of the silent auction will be announced at 6pm at Design Within Reach (200 W. 2nd Street). Several participating architects and designers will also be on hand to discuss their creations. Winning doghouses will be on display at Design Within Reach for the rest of the weekend.”

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1 Task Per Day: How to Maintain Showing Condition

15 10 2007

If you’ve ever sold a home before you know how important it is to maintain showing condition while on the market. It’s imperative that both the structural and aesthetic condition substantiate the asking price. Otherwise, the home will likely linger for days without generating any offers. Initially, it can take a lot of work to make it look like a model home, but the bigger challenge for most sellers is keeping the home in showing condition while it’s on the market.

Regardless if you have a family at home or not, maintaining showing condition doesn’t have to be as arduous as it is for many people. One way to defeat the challenge is to hire professional cleaners to take care of what you don’t have the time to do. But that can be expensive and you’re probably more of the do-it-yourself type. If the latter is true of you, below is an easy plan I’ve assembled to help you maintain showing condition. If you can’t do anything more, at least focus 15 minutes of your time each day to the designated task.

If you have a family at home, even better, that means you have easy access to cheap labor to assist you. Remember, the idea is to maintain showing condition, as the plan will work once the interior of the home starts to resemble a model. Also, depending on the level of traffic that is coming through your home, you may want to shuffle the daily tasks around to fit your situation. Lastly, a good rule to apply to the household is the old leave-no-trace axiom – pack it in, pack it out. If you take a dish to the living room, take it back to the dishwasher when you’re finished and put it back in the cabinet once it’s clean. Encourage the kiddos once they’re done playing with a toy to put it back where they got it… pretty simple really. Here’s the plan:

  • Monday– Clean the floors, sweep and mop.

  • Tuesday– Dust windows, fixtures and wood trim.

  • Wednesday– Quick sweep floors.

  • Thursday– Take out all trash.

  • Friday– Clean bathrooms.

  • Saturday– Sweep and mop.

  • Sunday– De-clutter (focus on areas where paper stacks up).

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AIA Homes Tour Winner

10 10 2007


This won my vote at least. Note to self… before building a new home… purchase a horribly difficult lot in a great neighborhood and consult Tim Cuppett to do the unthinkable. Here’s Tim’s take of the project from his website.

“This house sits on a heavily wooded lot that was deemed too constricted by an easement to be suitable for construction; but that feature mandated the very beauty of the place. In response to these constraints, the house is narrow and deep. A high, wide overhang supported on slender columns creates shading while a sun protecting wooden brise-soleil on the West side screens the house. Both features meld the structure into its context of trees and vegetation in the natural undisturbed easement. With the exception of some limestone walls, exterior materials were chosen to disappear into the landscape.

The house is Modern but warm because of the raw materials and colors used. There is only a thin veil of separation from inside to outside and every room features windows on multiple sides.”

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For Smell: How Scent Can Make or Break the Sale

8 10 2007


It’s no secret our emotions play a large part in the decision making process when it comes to buying a home. “What about my home would influence a buyer’s emotions when they enter?” This is what a seller should be asking weeks before they begin marketing their home.  If you’re thinking about selling, take a whiff and you may find the answer.

The Smell of Money: Marketers Use Scent to Encourage Spending describes how of all the 5 senses, smell is thought to be the most closely linked to emotion. The post goes on to discuss how major corporations leverage the subtle tactic to encourage a sensory, emotional response and subsequent purchase of their products.

It can be akward for both a Realtor and seller when the topic of “this house has a smell” comes up.  Truth is, every house has a smell, it’s usually either good or bad. When selling your home, know that scent is a catalyst for either a positive or negative first impression. Baking cookies before an open house or showing will only last for so long. My suggestion. Deep clean with a lemon scent.

I should point out I’ve never had a client decide to buy a particular house because it smelled nice, but I have seen contenders crossed off the list because they didn’t.

3 quick tips to make your home smell better and sell faster:

  1. Keep it clean (if you don’t have the time, call in the professionals). 

  2. Remove pet odors (litter boxes, dog beds, pets…etc.).

  3. Replace the air filters (keep the house ventilated with fresh air).

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