Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cathedral of Junk

Another reason to love South Austin, the Cathedral of Junk. Started in 1988 and evolving ever since . Here's a link http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/7816 to more information about the Cathedral of Junk and it's creator Vince Hannemann.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Austin home sales up by 38% for 10.09!

The Austin American Statesman reports that existing home sales are up by 38% for the month of October. The Austin market has weathered the economic storm so much better than the rest of the nation and this article verifies it! Check out the full story at:


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Writing a Professional Biography

I think most folks can feel me on this one...it is no fun writing resumes or bios of ourselves. Turner Residential (this is the brokerage where I run my business) is planning a major website redesign and I will need to freshen up my information. When faced with this task a few years back, here's one of the "gems" I came up with prior to breaking down and submitting a pretty innoucuous, but accurate bio.that can be viewed at www.turnerresidential.com. Please keep in mind that this faux bio is ficticious, satirical and all in good fun.

Real Estatic Force

Brandi Weber is a real estatic force. If there was one word to describe Brandi and her approach to real estate it would be Kafkaesque. Brandi Weber is the Eddie Van Halen of real estate. When it comes to real estate Brandi Weber’s philosophy is “take no prisoners”. Brandi Weber brings a “take no prisoners” and also a “no holds barred” approach to real estate. Brandi is like an ultimate fighter when it comes to doing her job….which is real estate. This means she is not afraid to punch someone in the nuts if that’s what needs to happen. If real estate were a violin, Brandi Weber would be a virtuoso. Brandi Weber is the Harvey Keitel of real estate. Brandi Weber wakes up every morning and eats an entire house for breakfast. Brandi Weber does not believe in God, she believes in real estate. Once, Brandi Weber gave birth….to real estate.

Austin is a Performer!

Yesterday, Milken Institute/Greenstree

Real Estate Partners released its ranking of Best Performing Cities Index. Austin jumped from number 4 to the number 1 position and is the only city to have achieved the number 1 ranking twice – the last time being in 2000!
The study ranked U.S. metro areas based on their ability to create and sustain jobs, measuring employment, salary growth and technology output. An explanation is listed below for how Austin obtained an overall first place ranking. The favorable Texas business enviornment also helped Austin and other Texas cities along with a pattern of low taxes. The recent $500 million research funding for Tier One Universities was also cited.

Check out the full report here!


The meaning of stuff

In my line of work, I am in homes all the time. Sometimes the homes I am visiting are vacant, but often they are still occupied and furnished. We Realtors advise our clients about what to or not to display in their homes while the home is on the market for sale. Our advice usually leans towards doing things that will make the home feel more spacious (decluttering),"depersonalizing" by putting away personal photos etc. to allow a potential buyer to envision the home as theirs, and advising certain color palettes that are neutral and unlikely to solicit strong reactions. All of this stuff is proven to be effective and it's pretty easy to see why, but the things that I often notice (and often my buyer clients do also) are a bit more subtle. For example; the books on the book shelves or the ABSENCE of books, the clothes in the closet, the type of products left lying around the bathroom, and in my case specifically, because of personal interests-- is there music around in any format, or instruments? Recently, I was in a home that had an entire room dedicated to the owner's AWESOME vinyl collection. I know nothing of the person that owns this home, but I am undeniably curious about them and find myself wanting to know them. It is not a rational reaction, but an emotional, even sentimental one that I find very interesting. I mean just because some person has an interest that I share is no guarantee that they are a cool person, but in my mind the odds are already stacked in their favor.

On my list of things to read presently is a book by local author Sam Gosling called -
Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You.

The following is from www.monitortalent.com:
"Sam Gosling is an author and associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a nationally regarded researcher and innovator in the field of personality and social psychology. His work has been widely covered in the media, including The New York Times, Psychology Today, NPR, and "Good Morning America," and his research is featured in Malcolm Gladwell's Blink. Gosling is the recipient of the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution.

Gosling’s recently published book, Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You, is a provocative and witty look at how our private spaces—from boardroom to bedroom—reveal our personalities, whether we know it or not! Does what's on your desk reveal what's on your mind? Do those pictures on your walls tell true tales about you? For the last ten years Gosling has been studying how people project (and protect) their inner selves. By exploring our private worlds, he explores not only how we showcase our personalities in unexpected—and unplanned—ways, but also how we create personality in the first place, communicate it others, and interpret the world around us."

My home is furnished with a pretty motley assortment of items that I have collected over the years and many of them are from thrift stores, Craigslist, and sometimes the garbage (for reals)or the side of the road. I like to think that what this says about me is that I am frugal and whimsical, however perspective is all relative and one person's whimsy is someone else's tacky. One thing is for sure, in this economy (or any economy) decorating your home or yourself with second hand or found items saves money and creates a unique look that you won't see in the pages of the West Elm catalog or at The Gap.

I have included some photos of them here for admiration or ridicule.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Go Hug Yourself!

Hello! I am Brandi Weber. I am a Realtor in Austin Texas. Check me out at http://www.turnerresidential.com/

Choosing a name for this blog was tough. My main goal in writing this blog is to create a forum to share interesting information about the real estate market in Austin Texas as well as nationally, to have a place to brag on my super great city and a place to post weird and random stuff I encounter. I originally thought I would come up with a name for my blog that was a play on the name of an already established and well known blog (see above post title) , but I quickly discovered that as clever as I wish I would be, I am only clever like 50 % of the time and often that is only really late at night. So, hence the name Shiny City Chronicles.

There's a great line in the song Fake Empire by the National that goes "tip toe through our shiny city with our diamond slippers on", that line always make me think of Austin. So, in trying to come up with a name I borrowed a little from a great song.

I hope that you will find fun and interesting stuff in this blog in the coming days and weeks.
I am excited to see what it becomes!

Oh, and if you are looking for something cool to do this weekend check out the East Austin Studio Tour, http://www.eastaustinstudiotour.com/. An awesome way to check out art, meet artists and fellow art lovers and spend some time in a great part of the city!

Extension of the Home Buyer Tax Credit

In an effort to further stimulate the economy, the government has extended the home buyer tax credit to April 2010. In addition to the $8000 tax credit offered to first time home buyers there is now a credit in the amount of $6500 offered to "move up" buyers. Read more about it here http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/