buy low, sell high (or: timing [and dumb luck] is everything)

Median home listing price in 78757 for three bedroom single-family detached homes

We were fortunate, in part by evil plan and in part by dumb luck, when we built our house. We purposefully bought a lot in the dark shadow of the banking crisis hoping to get a deal (and we did). And we built while we were still in the shadow, which meant hungrier contractors (and lower costs). This all worked brilliantly, but just barely. If we had delayed construction a mere six months, we would have been dealing with a much different market.

The plot above shows the median list price in the 78757 zip code, roughly Allandale, Brentwood, and Crestview in Austin. We bought our lot in October 2010, the leftmost part of that graph. We started building in September of 2012 (right when prices started to climb) and finished in July of 2013.

Talk about good timing! As we've stated before, if we had to build our house at the end of our construction, we wouldn't have been able to afford it. Yikes!

Zillow considers our market cold, but it sure doesn't seem that way, although, according to them, price increases are slowing (that's fine by us and our property tax bill).

Median list price per square foot

The 78757


dancing with architecture: van horn, texas, and carlsbad, cloudcroft, socorro, and luis lopez, nm

Over the past half year, we've had a couple sad trips to New Mexico after the death of the bride's mother shortly after Thanksgiving last year (which is when the photo above was taken in Marathon). We made a quick trip for the funeral in December and then, in February, another trip to go through the house and get it ready to sell. Usually we fly, but we drove to give us schdeuling flexibility and the ability to haul stuff back home to Texas.

These were strange times: mourning a tragedy yet seeing family and friends we don't see enough, eating red and green chile, and admiring the everlasting beauty of New Mexico.

van horn

When we were younger (and poorer) we could make the 12-hour drive in one shot. These days, we prefer to drive halfwayish to recharge the batteries (and give our backs a break). It also allows us to enjoy the scenary along the way. On the December trip, we stopped in Van Horn to stay at Henry Trost's Hotel El Capitan. 


Oatmeal with chile!

This is my old rental house when I was in college. Tiny-tiny-tiny, but cozy-cozy-cozy. Lots of good memories.

Beer (and pizza) from an old friend's place in Socorro.

san antonio (nm)

Post-funeral dinner at The Owl Bar, a favorite spot for Nancy. 

luis lopez

La familia at the Rio Grande, a short walk from the homestead.


Heading back to Texas via Cloudcroft. Windy!

Dust storm off of White Sands.

Pinon stop.

somewhere along I-10 east of Fort Stockton

I'm fascinated by this old rest stop. It's very neoplastic and well-designed from, I'm guessing, the sixties. Sadly, it will soon be no more as TxDOT is revamping the rest areas along the highway.

Wagon wheel neoplasticism.


On our second trip, we spent the night in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

The Trinity Hotel. I fell down the stairs at the back; my knees are still a mess because of it...

Concrete scored to look like brick.

Lasagne with green chile!


We stopped in Cloudcroft to partake of Mad Jack's Central-Texas-style barbecue (fantastic!) and check on the lot. The Austin newspaper had a massive article about Mad Jack's the weekend before our trip. Dude drives back to Texas every two weeks to get wood and sausage.

One hour wait for brisket.

That's Jack. He's Mad. He gave us four brisket tips because he knew we would appreciate them (he was right!)

The lot.

Rainwater-fed house being built in town.

luis lopez


Another friend's pizza and beer joint in Socorro!

Even Subway puts green chile on their wares!


Short trip to Q-town to speak to attorneys.

El Bruno's

san antonio (nm)

We worked our asses off that week going through the house and celebrated completion by spending an evening at the Bosque.

luis lopez

Real-estate agent: "What's the roof look like?" 


 las cruces

Early departure from Socorro required lattes in Las Cruces. Turns out this joint was started by a friend of a friend.

canutillo, texas

Best. Damn. Tortillas. Friends of ours who used to live in the area turned us on to them. Now, if we are anywhere within 100 miles of this palce, we stop to stock up.