Jenni’s First Home: South Third in Austin, Tx

In 1996, Val and I were living in East Austin, in a leased garage apartment. It had no central air or heat, no shower, and more than a couple holes in the floor that looked onto the dirt base of the “garage” below. But rents were continuing to rise. And we knew we needed to buy a home to avoid being priced out of town.

We set our budget at $55,000. Our amazing Realtor, Marylin, found us a home in “up and coming” South Austin. It was a single family, but had rentable guest quarters. The whole package was $98,000. Above our budget, but the rent from the back house offset our monthly payment.  By the time we bought in 1997, interest rates were hovering around 9% for FHA loans, so the home cost us $1000/month. For context, this loan today would be $445 monthly, before taxes/insurance.
We had bring $5600 to close. At the time, we were living paycheck to paycheck, so we borrowed these funds from Val’s mom (may you be forever blessed, Marlene Haskell, for your enduring support and faith). If you can’t tell, it was a stressful time in many ways. But it was also a time of much hope. Val and I were planning our wedding. She was training for her first marathon. We had both just launched new businesses. And our cute little 2/1 on South Third, all 990 square feet of it, was a springboard for the future we were planning.
Looking back at the home, the color was dark (we didn’t have money for paint), and the roof needed replacing. For us, though, the inside was bright and full of love. There was even an extra room, so we each had an office. There was this amazing Live Oak tree in the back yard that was so wide, it stretched across the entirety of our yard, as well as most of the neighbors’ on either side. When we first moved in, the peacocks from our back-fence neighbors, Green Pastures Restaurant, would roam up and down our fence. Eventually we got a dog who scared them out of their daily outings.
We loved our first home. We only stayed there a couple years, but still feel so fondly about it that we drove by last year on a trip to Austin.
Whatever your goals, whatever your budget, I will say that owning a home is a wonderful experience. Additionally, it can be a great asset for future financial goals. I love that I now get to the return the kindness that our Realtor bestowed on us, by helping first-time buyers achieve their dreams

Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s Awards Ceremony

Celebrating 2017. Proud of our team, thankful for our clients, supporters and colleagues at Briggs and elsewhere. Smiling, laughing, dancing and celebrating into our best year yet.

Help us help you! Let’s make it your best year too!


Calling All Mardi Gras Beads!

The parade this weekend was such a blast! If you’re like Jenni & Val in this pic and you still have a lot of beads in your house we’d love to take them off your hands.

You can drop the beads off at any of the three addresses below in the black bins on the front porch and we’ll hand the beds off to a non-profit to use in next year’s parade! Thanks in advance for paying your beads forward and helping keep Oak Cliff green!

405 S Clinton / 75208
1331 S Montreal / 75208
231 E Greenbriar / 75203




Beads?!?!? What Do We Do After Mardi Gras?

Oak Cliff does Mardi Gras right! Big party for the big people. A little exercise at the 5k (and now 10k too). Then a family friendly parade to wrap it up. I love this weekend. Every year. And every year I wonder, “what do I do with all these beads?” Are you in the same predicament?  Perhaps you have children, but maybe there are just lumps of beads where your children used to be. Is your neck sore from all the swag you scored? Did your float order a few too many baubles?
We are here to help. Starting today you can drop off beads and Team Jennisto will donate them to local non-profits for recycling. We have 4 locations to make unloading your beads as easy as a slice from Norma’s.
405 S. Clinton Ave
732 N. Windomere
1331 S. Montreal Ave
231 E. Greenbriar Ln

Final Walkthrough on Windomere

Today we walk through the duplex on last time. This is our first post in a few weeks, so the kitchen will look radically different. The floors look wonderful. And the bathrooms are complete. This most recent week has been pretty intense, as we chased down details. Turns out it’s tough to get contractors to come back to take care of the little things they forgot to do, or that have to be done at the very end. But Val is all over them. And I have been to home improvement stores more times than I can count this week.
We still have a handful of things to complete. Oh, and I think the other side of the duplex got jealous, because it sprung a leak and now that bathroom has to have an emergency do-over. Par for the course.
Thanks for going along on the ride with me and Val. Now it’s time to find the duplex a happy tenant.


Last Look Before the Holidays

As we wind down 2016, we are also coming the the final pieces and parts on the Windomere duplex renovation.  Today in the video, we show off the mostly complete interior paint. Exterior will be done by Saturday. The tile is still an issue, as the new shipment didn’t match what was already on the floor. And, last night, we sprung 5 leaks in the pipes after the hard freeze this week. Thank goodness Raul’s guys were able to come today to repair those. We’re almost there.
Wishing you a restful holiday.

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