Describing Austin is no easy feat. The city has claimed many top 10 spots and still continues to grow. People from all professions and parts of the country continue to move here, and with that real estate has become an integral part of the city. The market has continually been building out, featuring family-friendly neighborhoods centered around excellent schools to downtown condo complexes situated among company startups. For whoever and whatever your needs, you’ll definitely need a local expert, which is why we sat down with our buyer specialist, Jennifer Lewis, and asked her to spill all the details about Austin, its real estate market, and her own story.
1. Austin is often nicknamed the “Silicon Hills” because of the large presence of tech companies in the area. Do you feel this dominates Austin culture, or is there more to the city? If so, what?
Much more, but this does play heavily into what makes Austin such a great place to call home. The tech industry in Austin provides a significant number of jobs and jobs that carry with it the ‘spirit’ of Austin : Laid back places to work where jeans/shorts/flip flops are the norm and there are table tennis and Foosball tables, outdoor spaces and often a little beer in the fridge too. Austin knows that treating its employees with this sense of autonomy and creativity brings out the best in its workers. That same ‘laid back’ sense is present throughout Austin, in all the bars, restaurants and shopping areas. You don’t need to dress up to go to a nice dinner in Austin. The guy next to you with ‘bed head’, flip flops and an old t-shirt is probably a tech millionaire!
2. How did you first get started in the real estate business?
I married into the Keller Williams Family. My husband is the director for Win-Win productions at Keller Williams Realty International and always told me I should be in real estate because I love being with people, I love politics and educating myself on the economy and most importantly I love Austin. I had worked at IBM for 13 years as a Project Manager for Software Development and Global Services so negotiating and following a process was second nature to me. Following that process and managing the people involved was something I loved doing and its actually a perfect fit into a real estate career. After having my second child, I realized I was working 60-80 hr weeks and no matter how much harder I worked, I still made the same pay each week. I also was held accountable to my project’s schedule and was missing a lot with my kids. My desire for a more people oriented job with some flexibility in my schedule was ideal so real estate was a great choice for me. I also happened to be friends with the Papasan’s and when Wendy knew I was thinking about a real estate career she gave me an opportunity to join her team and build this business with her – I couldn’t refuse!
3. From your time at IBM, do you still find yourself being a “techie,” keeping up with technology and events?
I definitely do! I love all the news, blogs, events and information Austin has to offer and much of that revolves around new technology. I plan to keep up my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification so that will also force me to stay in the loop with the technology world.
4. Do you find yourself helping a lot of professionals in the tech industry find a home?
Absolutely! With so many new jobs in Austin related to the tech industry, many of my buyers are here for just that reason. This month I placed two 3M families into new homes as they were being transferred here from the Detroit area and another family that was moving here to work for Freescale. I think they appreciate that I understand how hard they work, what they do day to day and that I’m looking out for them – to save them as much time and money as possible while getting them into the new home they were dreaming of.
5. What are some of your favorite things to do/places to go in Austin?
I’m an avid golfer and Austin has so much great golf to offer that you can’t go wrong. I’ve been a member at Barton Creek, Lost Creek, Riverplace, The Hills / Flintrock Falls and Avery Ranch while living in Austin and there are so many others that I’ve played and love! Zilker Park and the Town Lake / Lady Bird Lake trails are also phenomenal. Zilker Park has so many events its hard to decide on my favorites but Blues on the Green, the Kite Festival, and ACL are all top! Austin also has no shortage of amazing food – you won’t find most folks going to chain restaurants around here……why would you when there are FANTASTIC local eateries everywhere! I’m a Mom now but a few years ago I would’ve also said the night life in the downtown area is one of my favorite things about Austin. There’s something for everyone from 2nd St / Warehouse District / East / Rainey / SoCo / SoLa….and I’m sure I’m missing some.
6. There’s a lot of rumor that real estate is becoming a seller’s market. How would you view the current state of events?
I’m sad to say this since I’m a Buyer’s Agent but it is definitely a seller’s market. The demand in Austin is so high right now and the inventory is so low that it has created this perfect storm for sellers to not only sell quickly but for typically more than ask price. There are some great reasons to be a buyer right now though too – low interest rates and people seem to really be fixing up their homes before putting them on the market so they are getting great properties!
7. What sets you apart from other buyer specialists/real estate agents?
In this market I ensure my buyers are prepared for a multiple offer situation. About 50% of my buyers this year have found themselves in multiple offer situations. 90% of those multiple offer situations were won on the first try and 100% were under contract by the third time in a multiple offer situation. I help my buyers pinpoint neighborhoods that fit their needs and I use my 13 yrs+ of negotiation skills to help me write contracts that get my buyer the property they want. I would rather over inform my buyer than leave them with unanswered questions or a lack of clarity. When we find that perfect home, my buyers know exactly what they need to do to get it.
For More Information
To learn more about Jennifer Lewis and how she can help you, feel free to contact her (click here). And don’t forget to search our current listings around Austin!