Spring 2011 Newsletter

Happy Spring from the Moxie Ladies (this weekend really makes us remember how amazing Spring in Central Texas can be)! We have had a wonderful — and busy — start to 2011 and hope you all have, too.

After getting through the holidays and the beginning of the year, both of us were lucky enough to have friends and relatives visiting. Mishell even hosted a house concert for Bobby Bare, Jr. during South by Southwest, and Justine got to see Kevin play with High Noon at the Lonestar Round Up, the band he was in when they first met. It’s been lovely to have so many people we love around!

Mishell also got to take a long-planned vacation to Morocco for a culinary tour and, as she puts it, the trip of a lifetime. Justine even started to get worried that she might not come back! If any of you are interested in an abridged version of her travels, she set up a public album on FaceBook (dont’ worry, you don’t have to be her friend, or even sign up for FaceBook):

Mishell’s Photo Album

Justine’s now eagerly awaiting her turn for a family vacation and know Mishell owes her big time for being gone for two weeks!

One of the things that has been best about the Spring, though, has been your continued support of Moxie! We appreciate that you’ve been sending people our way and hope that you’ll keep doing it. The best way for us to grow our business is through you. So, thank you very much. And, if you are a client and liked us, can we ask you to visit our Yelp! page and write a review? They really help with our web presence. Here’s a link:

Moxie’s Yelp Page

As always, thanks again for your support and please let us know if you have any real estate needs, or just want to have a drink!

Warmest regards,
Justine and Mishell
The Moxie Ladies
– A referral is the highest compliment you can give us. We will take great care of anyone you send our way.

It is Tax protest time again!
You should have received (or should soon) by mail a notice of appraised value from your county’s Central Appraisal District for any properties that you own.  This is the value that will be used to calculate the property taxes you owe for this year.

It is important to review this amount carefully. If you are satisfied with the assessed value of your property, you don’t need to do anything. However, you may notice that the Appraisal District has put a value on your property much higher than you recently paid, or you may feel the properties in the neighborhood in general are not close to the value that the Appraisal District is placing on yours. If you believe the Appraisal District has overvalued your property, you must file a written protest with the Appraisal District no later than 30 days after the appraisal district mailed the notice of appraised value to you or May 31, whichever date is later.

To review your property’s appraised value, go to the appropriate County Appraisal District web site listed below.

Travis Central Appraisal District

(512) 834-9317
8314 Cross Park Drive – Austin, Texas 78754
Travis County Appraisal District Appraised Value

Williamson Central Appraisal District

(512) 930-3787
625 FM 1460 – Georgetown, Texas 78626
Williamson County Appraisal District Appraised Value

Hays Central Appraisal District
(512) 268-2522
21001 N. IH35 – Kyle, Texas 78640
Hays County Appraisal District Appraised Value

If you are interested in filing a protest, you will need supporting real estate market data. Moxie is happy to offer our services to you, free of charge, to assist you with your research.

If you know of anyone else that may need our assistance, please let us know. We are here to help with all your real estate needs!

Moxie Austin Market Update

Homes Sales Volume Down Year-to-Year in March, Prices Continue to Hold Value

According to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report released recently by the Austin Board of REALTORS®, the volume of single-family home sales decreased year-over-year, while the price of Austin area real estate remained stable in March 2011.

Specifically, 1,597 homes were sold in the Austin area last month, 10 percent fewer than March 2010, and the median price was $185,260, two percent more than the same month last year.

“Though some aspects of the real estate market have fluctuated in the last few years, one thing has remained steady for Austin and that’s price appreciation,” said Judith Bundschuh, Chairman of the Austin Board of REALTORS®.

Since June 2010, the median price for Austin area homes has been the same or greater each month when compared to the same month of the prior year. With only one exception—in May 2010, when the median price was two percent less than the prior year—that has been the case for the past 16 months in Austin.

Chairman Bundschuh continued, “This degree of price stability, despite fluctuations in sales volume, indicates long-term strength in Austin’s real estate market.”

At the same time, the time required to sell a home in Austin continues to increase compared to last year. In March 2011, homes spent an average of 96 days on the market, 32 percent longer than March 2010. Since October 2010, homes have spent an average of 90 or more days on the market.

Additionally in March 2011, new listings were down 17 percent, active listings were down 11 percent and pending sales were down 17 percent compared to March 2010.

Chairman Bundschuh explained, “Like all of 2011 thus far, we must recognize that month-to-month comparisons are still being influenced by the impact of last year’s homebuyer tax credits. Thus, fluctuations in sales volume and listings compared to last year are to be expected.”

Additionally, leasing activity in the Austin area continued to increase in March with 1,174 properties leased, nine percent more than March 2010, and a median lease price of $1,200, four percent more than March 2010.
March 2011 Statistics
  • $396,389,773 —Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, five percent less than March 2010.
  • $185,260 — Median price for single-family homes, two percent more than March 2010.
  • 1,597 —  Single-family homes sold, 10 percent less than March 2010.
  • 96 — Days on market, 32 percent longer than March 2010.
  • 3,480 — New single-family home listings on the market, 17 percent less than March 2010.
  • 9,156 — Active single-family home listings on the market, 11 percent less than March 2010.
  • 2,012 — Pending sales for single-family homes, 17 percent less than March 2010.

Legal Build Update

As some of you know, the Moxie Ladies have been active supporters of Habitat for Humanity and the Austin Bar Association’s Legal Build effort.  Mishell chaired that committee and is proud to announce that all of the funds needed to build a home for the Jaimes family — a single father and his young daughter — are raised and the home is scheduled for completion in June!

This is the first time that the funds have been raised so promptly and the home completed before the heat of the summer.  Mishell is being recognized as co-chair of this outstanding committee at a special bar event at the end of May.  Congratulations Mishell, the Bar, and Habitat!!

Justine’s Tips from the Farm*

We are keeping bees!! I am trying out a type of beekeeping made popular by a book called The Barefoot Beekeeper by P J Chandler http://www.biobees.com/. This a more “natural” way of keeping bees and supposedly is less labor intensive and lower cost — both of these things really appeal to me! Cheap and easy (no cracks here, folks!)!

We have 2 top bar hives and 2 packages of bees coming this week! I am so excited! We won’t have honey until next year and there isn’t much of a garden for the little guys to pollinate but we did put in a couple of fruit trees that will be very happy to have pollinators and certainly we’ll be helping our neighbors’ gardens, too. The summer’s projected drought means that we may need to feed them. Austin has a meetup group for urban beekeepers and even though we are more rural than urban out here, the group is a terrific resource for both new beekeepers (like us) and experienced beekeepers (who can answer almost any question)!

*Justine lives on 5 acres in a rambling old farmhouse near Driftwood.  In her column she shares the ups and downs of country life and lessons she’s learned.  Think of her as the hotter, hipper Heloise!

Events in and Around Austin

Some special ideas from the Moxie Ladies:

May 19, 2011Austin Chronicle Adult Spelling Bee (Threadgill’s World Headquarters)

May 21, 2011O. Henry Pun-Off (O. Henry Museum)

May 21, 2011 – Free Irrigation Seminar

May 21-22, 2011Renegade Craft Fair Austin (Palmer Events Center)

May 21-22, 2011Texas Goes to War (Pioneer Farms)

May 24, 2011An Evening with James Evans – Texas Monthly/Texas Book Festival Author Series (Lamberts Downtown Barbecue – Limited Seating)

May 26 – June 12, 2011Kerrville Folk Festival