This popular Texas town is where many adventurous souls come to have a good time. And, with so many documented accounts of paranormal activity, it’s no wonder that one of the favorite pastimes of residents and visitors alike is investigating the city’s most legendary haunted places.
12. The Inn at Pearl Street
Built in 1896, the Inn at Pearl Street, was once the private residence of Judge Charles A. Wilcox and his family. Almost a century later, after years of neglect, the home was purchased by new owners who restored it to its former glory and opened a boutique hotel commonly known by locals and repeat guests as “The Pearl.” What the new owners did not anticipate was the presence of a couple of friendly spirits. Reports soon surfaced of strange noises, including disembodied footsteps and music, as well as an apparition of a woman floating in the halls to a chair where she rocks her twin boys to sleep.
11. Austin Tavern
This tavern, believed to have once been a sporting house, is said to be haunted by a young prostitute named Emily who was killed here along with her daughter in the 1940s. Reports include people being tapped, pinched and feeling as they are being watched by something unseen. Other reports include seeing hazy apparitions, feeling cold spots, and hearing the sound of footsteps and a phantom pool game.
10. Metz Elementary School
When this century-old schoolhouse was demolished and replaced with a more modern building in 1990, the demolition process did not go smoothly. Many of the heavy machinery operators reported that their machines would unexpectedly and inexplicably turn off during operation. There were also several reports of workers falling from ladders and tools that went missing during the rebuilding process.
Frightened workers at the site demanded an exorcism be performed after several within their ranks reported seeing children's writing mysteriously appear on classroom chalkboards and the appearance of ghostly children in the old building's restrooms.
9. The Omni Downtown
The Omni Downtown is a hotel that offers a pleasant and restful experience for most people traveling through the city of Austin. However, for some unfortunate individuals, it offers up something much more sinister—encounters with the ghost of a man named Jack who committed suicide by jumping off the balcony while staying at the hotel. Numerous guests and employees of the hotel have reported hearing his ghost moving around in the vacant room.
8. The Texas Governor's Mansion
One would anticipate that there would be countless stories attached to the Texas Governor’s Mansion, which dates back to the 1850s. What one might not expect is that these stories would include hauntings by former guests and residents of the mansion.
Two of the most notorious ghosts of the mansion were both former governors. Numerous people over the years claim to have seen the ghost of Sam Houston, whose ghostly figure is said to linger in the bedroom he once occupied while governor. The ghost of Pendleton Murrah, also a former governor, has also reportedly appeared inside the mansion and on the grounds.
The mansion’s most famous ghost story, however, is the tragic account of a young man in his teens who was courting Murrah’s niece. When the girl rejected his marriage proposal, the young man killed himself in his guest room in the mansion. Since his death, there have been frequent reports of paranormal activity in that room. People living in or visiting the mansion cite the room as a constant source of unpleasant noises, including moaning and the sound of someone gasping for breath.
7. Oakwood Cemetery
When looking for haunted spots, no ghost tour or paranormal investigation would be complete without including a cemetery. Established in 1839, the Oakwood Cemetery in Austin spans 40 acres and is the final resting place for more than 23,000 souls. Many people travel here with the hopes of seeing the ghost of General Sam Houston who is buried at the cemetery. Some have captured pictures of orbs at his grave and other graves in the cemetery.
6. The Texas Capitol
The Texas Capitol has had its share of people going in and out of the building since it was first built. Today, visitors and people who work in the Capitol are not the only souls to be found in the building, which is said to be haunted by a number of people. Some witnesses claim to have seen the ghost of Robert Marshall Love, who was killed in the building while sitting at his desk. Others report an apparition of a lady in red on the third floor who is said to visit a stairwell hoping to have a rendezvous with a man. Many people have also reporting seeing former Governor Edmund Jackson Davis stare at people from the first floor window until they move out of his line of sight.
5. The Walter Tips House
Built in 1876, this stately residence was home first to Walter Tips and his family, then later Theo P. Meyer, both successful businessmen in their own right. The house, which was moved to its current location for restoration purposes and now functions as a bank, is regarded by many as one of the top haunted sites in Texas.
The ghosts or spirits that reportedly haunt the house today seem to be very angry. It is said that when people approach the house, they get the distinct impression they are not wanted there.
4. St. Edward's University
St. Edward’s University, a center for higher learning that has educated many students over the years, has a history of spooky happenings and there are claims it is home to as many as three ghosts.
The ghost of a young man who committed suicide by hanging is said to reside in the Mary Moody Northern Theater. Witnesses report seeing his ghostly body hanging from where he perished and, despite not seeing the rope, many have heard the sounds of it creaking as it swung back and forth.
Premont Hall is said to be haunted by a former resident advisor who died in the showers. The slamming of doors and windows is one way this ghost makes his presence known. The unhappy ghost is also said to turn all the showers on simultaneously. The final ghost, found in Doyle Hall, appears to be that of a nun who also enjoys turning on the showers in the building.
3. The Driskill Hotel
Colonel Jesse Driskill built the now historic Driskill hotel in 1886. From the outside, the famous hotel is an amazing piece of architecture that has welcomed thousands of people through its doors during its 100- plus years. However, some of the people that stayed at the hotel never left, according to reports.
Feeling as though someone has brushed up against you is a common occurrence at the Driskill. There are those who state Driskill himself roams the hallways of his hotel, and occasionally employees and guests can smell the scent of his favorite cigars. A little girl also haunts the stairs and other common areas of the hotel and can often spotted holding flowers. But one of the creepiest locations in the hotel is Room 525. According to reports, two different brides committed suicide in the room, 20 years apart. The presence of the women is often felt in the unhappy room.
2. Shoal Creek Indian Massacre Site
When Gideon White decided to build a home in close proximity to Shoal Creek, many people told him it was not a good idea. Ignoring their advice, he built his log cabin in 1839.
Things were fine for roughly three years when, according to reports, White was killed by some Native Americans. People who have visited the area since his death have discovered many graves, including White’s and those of many people who died from yellow fever, cholera, and other tragedies.
With so many bodies buried in the location, it is not unusual to feel cold spots, hear strange noises, or see apparitions. Because of the high amount of paranormal activity in the area, people are not permitted to visit the creek after 10 p.m.
1. Littlefield House
Built in 1894, this beautiful, yet creepy looking home was where Major George Washington Littlefield and his wife lived without any children until they both died. Upon his wife’s death, the home was bequeathed to the University of Texas at Austin.
The house remains in the same location near the campus grounds and the university often uses the first floor of the building as a site for university events. The staff who work in the building say you can see Alice’s ghost roaming around the grounds and in the house, and some say you can hear Alice playing the piano at all hours of the night.
This wonderful list of Austin’s haunted spots was thoughtfully crafted by my friends at First American Title.
The Austin Board of REALTORS® just released the September 2018 Austin Market Report. According to the report, September data shows a stall in home sales growth. Regardless, median home sales prices continue to rise for both the City of Austin and the Greater Austin area.
The home sales volume stall that the board report magnifies as its report title is quite slight. Compared to September 2017, there were 22 fewer single family home sales in the Austin – Round Rock MSA this past month. Within the City of Austin, home sales decreased from 708 last year to 702 home sales in September of 2018. This is hardly a drastic change in the market. According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research at the National Association of REALTORS®, the flat sales growth in the Austin area could be due to rising interest rates. This is a valid argument; interest rates have rose about three quarters of a percent since last year. However, there are many other factors that could be at play here, such as the lack of housing available and the increasing rise in the median sales price.
In the greater Austin Area, the median home sales price increased to $302,250 last month. This is almost eleven grand more than the median home sales price of September 2017. Within the city limits, the median sales home price increased to $365,000. The combination of increased prices and higher interest rates leads to less purchasing power for home buyers.
The average days on market (ADOM) for homes in the greater Austin area and homes within the city limits has not changed much since last year. Homes within the City of Austin spent a few less days on the market this year compared to last year. This month, City of Austin homes had an ADOM of 38 compared to 42 days last September. In the greater Austin Area, the ADOM was 53 days. The exact same figure as September of 2017.
If you’re interested in learning more about the exact market conditions in your neighborhood, contact me today. I’d be happy to prepare a specified report for your area.
In many ways, listing a condo for sale is similar to listing a house for sale. You must determine an appropriate asking price, prepare the home to go on the market, and then advertise the home to prospective buyers. Digging up relevant home documents such as the ones listed in this post, are helpful when selling a home or a condo. However, there are a few additional items you will also want to research prior to listing a condo for sale.
First, you will want to find out what types of financing can be used to purchase a condo in your complex. Why should you care what types of loans a buyer could use to purchase your condo? Well, not all condo complexes qualify for all types of loans. Let’s imagine you receive an amazing offer on your condo. You accept the offer and begin preparing to move. A few weeks go by and then you are notified that the buyer can no longer purchase your condo because the condo project does not qualify for the loan product the buyer planned on using to purchase your condo. In this scenario, it’s possible they may not be able to qualify for a different type of loan, and you will be back at square one. To make matters work, your home will have been off the market for a few weeks - valuable time you could have used to identify a buyer that is truly qualified to purchase your condo.
You can see how it makes sense to understand what loans buyers can use to purchase your condo. This example sheds light on the greater issue of making sure a buyer is thoroughly vetted to ensure he or she can qualify for the purchase. Whether you are selling a house or a condo it’s important to verify with a buyer’s lender that the buyer is truly qualified and that the property is eligible for their specific loan product. When selling a condo specifically, I would check to see if the condo building qualifies for FHA financing. You can check to see if your condo project is FHA approved on the HUD website. Additionally, I recommend determining if the condo is warrantable. This one is a little trickier; however, this post outlines some of the factors that influence whether a condo is warrantable or not. You should also check with an experienced mortgage professional.
There are a few other things you will want to know about your condo before listing it for sale. Understanding what your HOA fee covers and how much it is monthly will help you better market your condo for sale. You also want to find out how much the resale certificate costs and what the HOA charges for transfer fees. And, you want to find out how long it usually takes the HOA to provide the resale certificate. All of these items are on the sales contract. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, how can you intelligently negotiate an offer you receive? Contact your HOA for detailed information on these items.
Researching all of these pieces before you list your condo for sale ensures a smooth closing. As an experienced listing agent with a plethora of condo sales under my belt, answering all of these questions is part of my listing checklist. If you are interested in selling your Austin area condo, contact me today.
If you’re looking for a great investment opportunity in the Austin real estate market, you may be considering purchasing a property to use as a full-time vacation rental. With the rising popularity of websites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and homeaway visitors to the Austin area have simpler ways to identify places to stay besides hotels. Furthermore, renting out a property as a short term rental (STR) may be even more lucrative than a traditional long term rental.
Unfortunately, in order to use a home as a short term rental in the Austin city limits, you must have a permit. At this time, they are no longer issuing any more Type 2 permits. Type 2 permits apply to single family, non-owner occupied homes. Even if you find a home for sale that is currently operating as a STR with a Type 2 permit, that permit does not transfer with the sale of the home.
Thus, if you would like to purchase a property to use as a full-time short term rental in the Austin area, you have two options. Find a condo that allows short term rentals, or look for a property outside the city limits to use as a short term rental. Homes located in the City of Austin’s ETJ can be used as vacation rentals, and do not require a permit. Homes located in the LTD do require a permit; however, they do not have to pay City of Austin hotel taxes.
If you identify a property outside of the city limits that you would like to use as a short term rental, you must verify that there are no HOA restrictions that prohibit the use of the home as a vacation rental. You will also want to check that the home is not in another city’s jurisdiction. For example, the City of Lakeway has developed its own guidelines and regulations regarding short term rentals.
If you are looking for a property to use as a short term rental in the Austin Area, you may be interesting in reading these other posts.
SHORT TERM RENTALS- UNDERSTANDING REGULATIONS
FINDING AN AUSTIN INVESTMENT PROPERTY TO USE AS A SHORT TERM RENTAL
Contact me today for help finding the perfect investment property for your needs.
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.