Austin Realtor Diaries

Photo illustrations: slowed down; Photos: Getty Images

In this biweekly series “real estate diaries”, we hear from the people at the center of a market that is wilder than ever. Today’s hour-by-hour look into the working world of Joanne Gamel, 40, an Austin power broker.

07:30† I start my day with meditation. I sit outside on my patio, take out my yoga mat and set an intention. What’s going through my head? Let’s try to be thankful today; let’s be thankful that we live in beautiful Austin and no longer in crazy New York City; let’s eat healthy today …Of course my mind wanders to work while meditating. It’s like, Let’s take the good weather into account… oh, and finish that contract…

8 am I take my dogs on a long walk. It’s been five years in Texas and one of my dogs is still one of those New Yorkers. He’s like, WTF is this grass?

I am a third generation real estate developer. My family and I do condo conversions all over the country. We did one here a few years ago. And after a few months, my husband and I were like, “Yeah, we’re never leaving.” When it comes to real estate, it’s literally everything here – ultra-luxury mansions, McMansions, countless waterfront options, ranches, country club living, luxury high-rise condos, new construction galore, investment opportunities. High-end, low-end, ambitious, dirt cheap.

Believe me, I was a skeptic. Being from NYC, I was thinking tumbleweeds and cowboys. But then I was like Holy shit, this is banging. Austinians like to keep it local and keep it weird; you will find very open-minded people here, a real “one love” atmosphere, everyone is welcome. That resonates with me and I love that. I understand why everyone flocks here, I really do.

9 o’clock Workday is about to start, but has no end time; I’m always on. Always! I don’t mind though. I am a social animal and a people person. Real estate is definitely in my DNA, and I’m proud to say that I thrive here.

10 hours A colleague sends me some statistics from the Census Bureau stating that the population of Austin is increasing by 146 people every day. Wow! Most of that is “new money” coming into town, and by that I mean all the rich techies, young and old. This is America’s new tech center. During the peak of COVID, these guys were making crazy offers; she didn’t care. They bought houses that were invisible and waived appraisals; to them it was all a joke coming from where they were. tesla. dell. facebook. Apple. google. These guys want luxury. They want space. We are talking about houses on acres and acres of land. Indoor and outdoor square meters. Waterfront. One of these clients asked me to show him around via his private helicopter. That was interesting to realize, but we succeeded.

11 hours I meet up with luxury waterfront buyers looking for a full-time home, and I’m doing something new, even for me. I chartered a boat with a captain and show them properties on Lake Austin this way.

Lake Austin is just five to ten minutes west of the heart of downtown. It separates the larger Lake Travis from downtown. The coast is lined with beautiful waterfront homes, many of which have their own private dock. Your pool house here would be about 2,000 square feet, so you can imagine the size of the houses. I’m talking about mega houses. Houses featured in Architectural summary† Lake Austin home owners are often celebrities, hedge fund managers, tech gods, etc.

11:30† Fortunately, our captain knows the waterways quite well, but getting from one house to another is a little more difficult than I imagined. A lot of hassle, but the customers have fun with it.

2:00 p.m. I’m not sure if my clients have found what they’re looking for — they want the best of the best and can easily spend several million dollars — but we’ve definitely strengthened our relationship, which is everything in this industry. However, I am now in a rush to make my 3pm appointment.

3 p.m. I have an appointment with clients moving here from San Francisco. They’re a middle-aged couple with two small children, so they’re looking for a four-bedroom house with a pool in a premier school district on a budget of about $2 million. They want to be downtown in 15 to 20 minutes, where the guy in the Google office works.

The woman is also super artsy and that is why she is looking for a large garage or a casita that she can use as her own hobby/work space. Many large Texas homes have what’s called a “casita,” which literally translates to “a tiny house.” Think of it as a guest studio or pool house.

We’ll start in the Clarksville neighborhood – a historic neighborhood in the heart of downtown, known for its super cute bungalow homes. In general, the houses here are smaller, although lately people are tearing down bungalows and building narrow but tall modern houses. It’s one of the trendiest neighborhoods in all of Austin, along with the Zilker/Barton Hills area, where you’ll find a mix of charming historic homes and ultra-modern minimalist renovations and refurbishments. Then there’s Bee Cave, where you have these beautiful hilly environments, spacious lots and suburban new developments. In Bee Cave you will find the notch schools, country clubs and most of the mansions.

5 p.m. After looking at nine properties between yesterday and today, we are submitting two offers. Now I am waiting for a reply from the sellers whether either or both will be accepted. Hopefully one of these offers will come true. If not, we’ll go back to the drawing board.

I will say, the market has definitely softened a bit. The “delay” isn’t as dramatic as some people might think, but it’s true: houses no longer fly off the shelf the same day they’re listed. I think people are just more cautious, given the state of our economy, and that’s why things are a little chillier than they were.

6 p.m. I have one last appointment, exploring a huge tract of land. It is on the market for $2.25 million, which is considered affordable in the Barton Creek area. People love the idea of ​​building their dream home on uncultivated land. I’m terrified of snakes, so I put on a pair of knee-high Lucchese boots, which I keep in my car for these displays.

6:30 pm A rancher puts us in a quad bike to explore the terrain. This makes for a really bumpy but good time.

8 pm I am happy to be able to relax at home with my husband in our new home. We’ve lived in two different country clubs here in Austin and eventually settled in the Onion Creek. Both he and I and our dog babies have never been happier. Our backyard is literally the golf course. I have to say that my new favorite client lately is the country club client.

There are over 20 country clubs in the Greater Austin area. Obviously, that includes a wide range of price points. If you’re a middle-aged working professional with a family, you can join a country club for as little as $5,000 a year and then pay a monthly dues of about $400 — those clubs are usually further away from downtown, though. On the other hand, we also have some clubs with starting fees of $250,000 per year. The homes on golf courses can range in price from $500,000 to about $10 million. But what’s really interesting is that the country club lifestyle—at least of late in Austin—has become very trendy with young, cool, successful, educated twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings with six-figure jobs. I think it has something to do with the pandemic – people just want to be able to eat at the club a few times a week and socialize. Anyway, when I show someone a house in a country club, I take them around with a golf cart. It’s just fun.

11:00 p.m. I’ll be on the phone and working late into the night, especially with clients on the west coast, but honestly, you’ll never hear me complain. I’m just so glad we live here now.

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