Donations to the Homeless Animals. Townlake Animal Shelter accepts lots of in-kind donations including food, toys, blankets, and towels. Since the baby doll blankets were really accumulating around my house anyway, we decided to take a tall stack of them down to the shelter. This was a double wammy act of kindness as it also teaches appreciation for her own dog who could also use additional love and kisses around here.
Pull Tabs for Ronald McDonald House. Let your Coc-a-cola and beer drinking go to a good cause this month (and every month) while your kids collect pull tabs for RMDH. RMDH provides housing for out of town families whose children are receiving medical treatment at local medical facilities. The pull tabs are recycled and proceeds go to RMDH in continuing their efforts. Pull tabs can be dropped off at the Ronald McDonald House in the new Mueller development - 1315 Barbara Jordan Blvd.
Good ol' Goodwill Donations. My little girl and I sort through toys and throw the ones she wants to give away into a box. Even when she struggles internally to let go of a particular toy, I see the compassion in her eyes as she reflects on the little girl or boy who needs it worse than her. We go drop them off at the Goodwill together. When you buy or donate to Goodwill you are contributing to Goodwill's mission of preparing individuals for job success.
If you think of any other ways kids can give of themselves, please feel free to send a comment.
These properties can be wonderful: exquisitely designed, well constructed, close to downtown, well priced, etc. Overall, precisely what you are looking for in a new home. However, before you buy, there are a couple of things to know about these properties before you consider buying one.
1. Mandatory COA: Even though there are just 2 units, there will have to be a COA, which is a legal entity. The COA should have a budget that pays for common grounds liability insurance and tax preparation, at minimum. Be sure that the money you are paying to the COA goes to something of value. As one of the owners, you will be an officer in the COA and have 50% voting rights. If you and your neighbor do not agree on something 100%, then nothing happens. Either everyone agrees or disagrees.
2. Perceived Market Value: Most home buyers are searching for "houses" to buy and therefore, there is a lower perceived value in a condo vs. a single family home. This may be a problem when you go to resell your property. It will actually be listed as a "condo" in the MLS and may not even pop up in potential home buyers' searches.
3. Condo Financing: The underwriting requirements for financing a condominium is changing and financing is getting tougher to obtain as time goes on. Some federally backed loan programs will not finance a condo project that is not at least 50% owner occupied. If your neighboring condo is owned by an investor, it may be difficult for you to find a buyer who can buy your condo with conventional financing when you go to resell.
Some additional condo projects in Central Austin:
Oh...and there is actually an option for "Sleep In for the Cure". ...You can donate $50.00 and get a t-shirt that says you slept in... I see no shame in that. !!
In Austin, the artist community has honed in on East Austin and the result is a thriving real estate market ideal for early adopters and investors. Many artist collectives like the Pump Project and the East Austin Studio Tour set down roots here a couple years back and with them came the arrival of trendy coffee shops, restaurants, and boutiques…all of which continue to grow in number in East Austin. If you haven’t spent time in East Austin recently, take a trip and visit Manor Road, E. 11th Street, and E. 6th Street where you will find lively, urban, modern communities of young Austinites living and loving their little secret slice of Austin.
$244,900 - Delwood 1949 bungalow on large .21 acre treed lot...adjacent to Mueller development. Designer interior...oodles of mid-century charm and style. 2 bed / 1 bath / 1028 sf.
This is a recent mural turning up in East Austin, completed by the artist collective Trust Your Hustle. The mural is located on the west wall of longtime blues music venue Victory Grill on E. 11th St. The mural pays homage to Austin’s own soul queen Lavelle White along with other Austin blues music pioneers Johnny Holmes, founder of Victory Grill, and Roosevelt “Grey Ghost” Williams, first musician Holmes booked for the venue. Trust Your Hustle is a touring collective of artists who join forces with local artists all over the country to create murals. …kinda cool that they chose Austin. !
East Austin has longtime been a community playing safe harbor to thriving artists and artist communities by providing low priced real estate, urban “inspiring” spaces, rich culture, and a super convenient distance to downtown and the rest of central Austin. Even with the rapid gentrification of East Austin (and rapidly sky-rocketing real estate prices), many artist communities remain there actively enriching the community with their work.
The East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.) is a 2 day event occurring each fall, this year scheduled for November 22nd and 23rd. This is a self-directed tour includes over 100 studios and 200 local artists holding open houses to present and sell their work. Free copies of the studio tour map are available at the studios. Bike transportation between the studios is highly encouraged…and by far the most convenient option anyway.
Another East Austin art program is the PUMP Project whose 30-something members work out of a single complex thus providing affordable work space and camaraderie to the artists. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday 1-5.
Many other collective studio spaces are available for rent such as 501 Studios at I-35 and E. 5th Street. If you are looking to buy, there are new construction live/work spaces…but those go fast and there aren’t any currently on the market (although I have heard of a few underway). If you are patient and have cash, there are great resale properties that come (and go) on the market in East Austin that would serve as excellent artist studios.
If you are a little bit thrifty and you subscribe to the idea of reusing and conserving in this age of mass consumerism --- then you gotta go to Savers. Savers is the department store of thrift stores, two locations in Austin (Burnet & North Loop, South Lamar & Hwy 70). Thursdays is the best day to go when they designate one color of tag throughout the store as 99 cents. ...and you can walk out of there with some seriously great finds like brand new tennis shoes for the kids, a television, or some groovy boots for yourself. Plus, shopping at Savers teaches our kids to reuse and conserve...which is the best message of all.
1. Auditorium Shores - South side of Lady Bird Lake, just west of First Street Bridge.
Big expansive green field on the banks of Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake)...think "size of a football field"....with a downtown city view. Water dogs can get their fill of the lake. Land lubbers can run and run and run...and run some more. Watch out for joggers and bikers whizzing by on the trail...not all of them are understanding that it's a leash free zone right there. We like to go on Sunday's with a tennis ball and let Lola chase the ball into the water until her heart's content. She always seems to make friends too.
2. Norwood Estate Dog Park - Northwest corner of I-35 and Riverside
This park is better known as "the dog park on Riverside". There are community drinking water stations for the dogs (be sure to bring a jug of water to contribute if you can remember.) This is a good ol' standby dog park, with ample parking and comfy plastic lawn chairs for the human race... it's especially a good call when it's too much effort to go down to Auditorium Shores due to parking, traffic, etc. There's no water feature...but plenty of shade and always a good natured crowd of playmates for your dog.
3. Zilker Park - soccer fields north side of Barton Springs Rd.
Simply put: BIG OPEN GREEN SPACE Those Frisbee catching, ball fetching pooches will especially love you for it.
4. Shoal Creek Greenbelt - West side of Lamar, between 26th and 28th streets
This really feels more like a jogging trail that is permitting your dog a visit than a dog park. It's really a problem if you have the kind of dog who thinks everyone is a playmate and wants to run after every jogger who passes by. Still...it's green, and beautiful...but you do have to tune out Lamar traffic.
5. Red Bud Isle -- MY FAVE -- take 6th street west until it turns into Lake Austin Blvd. then turn left on Red Bud Trail. Park is on left...
Okay seriously, this little island on Lady Bird Lake feels like you are visiting another world! We like to go early in the morning with the kids and dog before it gets too hot. It's actually an entirely leash free island and the dog can swim to his/her heart content while you and the kids enjoy snacks on the shoreline.
There are 12 total "off leash areas" in Austin... sounds like Lola has some more exploring to do.
BEST BETS - good public schools elementary through high school...
- Barton Hills
- Bryker Woods
- Northwest Hills
- Highland Park
- Anywhere in Westlake -- Eanes School District...where every school is exemplary
PLAN ON PRIVATE SCHOOL (at least I would)
- East Austin - 78702 zip code- Travis Heights
That being said, I am sure there are parents of school age students who live in these neighborhoods and who might disagree with my opinion. Please leave a comment as I am eager to learn more.
Thanks to woodleywonderworks on flickr.com for the pic.
These vintage cowboy boots sold at a new downtown shop are seiously cool. I want some. "Part Artwork, Part Footwear, All Fancy" ... Owner/designer Jerry Ryan creates vintage inspired boots, combining elements from the past (ode to Texas history) with his own designs to come up with a totally unique "retro-modern" look. ...which I think is right in line with our unique fashion style 'round here in Austin. I see me wearing mine with lots of flowy skirts and dresses. Prices start at $300. Shop is located at 117 W. 8th St. between Congress and Colorado. http://www.heritageboot.com/
(possible total score = 100)
Travis Heights *55* - somewhat walkable
Bouldin Creek *78* - very walkable
South Congress (SoCo) *80* - very walkable
Rollingwood *52* - somewhat walkable
Westlake *45* - car dependent
Zilker *75* - very walkable
Downtown *94* - walker's paradise (obviously)
Clarksville *86* - very walkable
Tarrytown *63* - somewhat walkable
Rosedale *72* - very walkable
Allandale *55* - somewhat walkable
Crestview *62* - somewhat walkable
Northwest Hills *40* - car dependent
Delwood *58* - somewhat walkable
Hyde Park *78* - very walkable
French Place *72* - very walkable
Central East Side *58* - somewhat walkable
Holly Street District *69* - somewhat walkable
...next up... SCOOTER SCORES!
(thanks to Sister72 @ flickr.com for the pic!)
Right now at AMOA downtown is an exhibit featuring both the artwork of Sol Lewitt and his personal art collection. Lewitt's pencil drawings, colorful gouaches, and wood/aluminum "structures" are continually recognized for pushing the limits in the minimalism and conceptual art genres during the past 40 years. Runs until August 17th...and next Saturday, August 9th, is family day at AMOA!
2,211 was the number of single-family homes sold, a 20 percent decrease from one year ago
$200,000 was the median price for single-family homes, a four percent increase from June 2007
$577,471,191 was the total dollar volume of properties sold, a 20 percent decrease from last year.
This awesome Austin 1960's architectural home just popped up on my radar when the price was reduced from $459,700 to $435,000 or $170/sq ft. Located on .23 acre wooded lot in Northwest Hills area. It's screaming for someone to come in and make it fabulous. As you can see, the current owner has updated a few things in the home...but not everything...and easily could have chosen materials closer to the home's original charm / design.
They also have this awesome covered outdoor seating area in the back with lush landscaping, overhead fans, and loads of candlelight (at night). Incidentally, they are open for lunch and dinner too...but I haven't tried that yet.
June 19, 2008 – As buying season heats up in Central Texas, the May 2008 Austin Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report indicates single-family home sales are up slightly since April 2008, homes are spending fewer days on the market and overall, the real estate market continues to reflect conditions similar to those of 2005.“Despite economic conditions across the nation, Austin continues to have a relatively low unemployment rate and cost of living index,” said ABoR Chairman Socar Chatmon-Thomas. “While we’re not enjoying the booming real estate markets of 2006 and 2007, we have seen steady increases in sales volume since January 2008.”
Single-family home sales in May 2008 reached their highest point in eight months, totaling 2,154 and contributing $566,827,254 to the local economy. The median price for single-family properties was $196,120 while active listings increased to 10,577. Homes sold in May 2008 also fell, averaging a total of 64 days on the market.
May 2008 - Single-Family Homes
2,154 was the number of single-family homes sold, a 20 percent decrease as compared to May 2007
$196,120 was the median price for single-family homes, a seven percent increase from May 2007
$566,827,254 was the total dollar volume of properties sold, a 16 percent decrease from May 2007.
We spent the warm evening of July 4th this year on the banks of Lake Austin with our kids and close friends. This is the view from Austin Country Club’s golf course where we situated ourselves to watch the amazing fireworks show that went off about 100 yards from us. The kids were in complete awe and it was really cool to watch their reactions!
I also heard that the Auditorium Shores fireworks show was pretty cool this year as well as all of the neighborhood parades around town during the day.
Okay seriously…I watched a bidding war unfold before my eyes this past weekend over this 1940's, 840 square foot bungalow next door to me in East Austin. Original list price was $139,900. Final sold price in a little over 24 hours after the listing went live was $150,000, CASH. Needless to say, East Austin is a little gold mine if you are ready to jump on a deal when it arises.