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A blog about slogging through the Austin real estate market

Initially, I thought I’d fill this site with all the gory details of the immigration process as my family prepared to move from London to Austin, TX. Now we’re here, though, and I’ve found a new gap in the market: I cannot find a (realistic) guide to buying and updating a home in Austin. Which is ridiculous, right? I mean, the Property Brothers filmed here! This city is home to one of the biggest real estate booms in the country! Everyone’s always going on about the growth in residential construction and the skyrocketing cost of housing – but the minute you start looking for reasonable guidelines to building an addition or renovating a house, it’s radio silent. I hear that costs change so quickly that estimates are outdated almost as soon as they’re done, but just in case anyone else out there is contemplating a renovation, I’m going to post alllllll about our process.

So where are we now? Currently, we have a contract on a home just off of South Manchaca (pronounced Man-chack by the locals, I’m told). It’s a small home – 900 sq ft, 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, with an updated (small) kitchen and bathroom. We picked the neighborhood because it’s still affordable, relatively central and has a nice family vibe. When we first rolled into town, we stayed in a vacation rental nearby and grew to really like the area. There area trendier areas closer to ‘the action’ and cheaper areas where we’d get more space for our money, but in the end, this felt like the perfect compromise between our family’s needs and wants. Also, we’d already put in offers on three other houses and had them fall through (one had aluminum wiring and a very expensive leak, another was a multiple offer situation and we didn’t bid enough, a third looked promising but had a crappy foundation and inflexible sellers). After almost two months of house hunting, we decided to call it quits as soon as we saw the listing for this one. Purchase price: $275k. Now for our big plans…



Texan, teacher, writer, reader: that’s me in a nutshell. Originally from Texas, I now live in London with my husband (he’s a Brit) and our two boys. I spend my time devouring books (especially young adult/middle grade fiction), baking cookies and generally going in ten directions at once. More than a decade ago, I moved to London for a teaching job, met my husband, stayed, and started a family. The last few years have been a whirlwind: in 2013, we moved to Austin, TX and I decided to stay at home with our son; in 2014, we bought and renovated a house in South Austin; in 2015, we welcomed our second son at a local birth center...and in 2016, we packed up and moved back to London! 2017 is set to see more changes as our eldest little starts school and I head back to the classroom. Read on for renovation info, book reviews, creative writing posts, and the general flotsam and jetsam of my life.

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