Are you the type of person that thinks if you own your property you should be able to do whatever you please with it? If you want to build a fence, paint your door pink, or park an RV on your land, you should be able to do as you please. If so, you may be feeling constricted by all of the regulations so prevalent in most Austin communities. Well, you’re in luck. There are some areas in Austin that are a bit more liberal when it comes to building use and regulations. Consider one of these two west Austin neighborhoods where just about anything goes.
Both of these communities are located in the City of Austin ETJ, border Lake Austin and feed to exemplary schools. Cuernavaca is located off Bee Cave Rd. in EANES ISD, and Apache Shores is located off FM 620 in Lake Travis ISD. In each of these communities you will find immaculate million dollar homes as well as mobile homes.
Apache Shores actually has a POA that oversees the approved uses for any given lot. Even with these restraints, Apache Shore’s regulations are some of the most lenient in the area. The section of Apache Shores your property is located in determines what you can and cannot do on your lot. Reviewing the POA’s governing docs and deed restrictions for a particular lot is a prudent move if you are planning to purchase in Apache Shores.
Cuernavaca has a voluntary HOA. Membership in Cuernavaca’s Lake Hills Community Association grants members access to the community pool and lakeside park. However, the HOA has no governance over residential land use within Cuernavaca. There are some communities within Cuernavaca with extensive deed restrictions, but overall the community has minimal deed restrictions on most tracts. If you’re looking for a great place to put your tiny home that’s close to the lake and the city, there are lots in Cuernavaca that permit you to do so.
While both of these communities have some of the most lenient residential land use regulations; ultimately, you will need to inspect the individual deed restrictions associated with the lot in order to assess if you can do what you want on the lot. Additionally, with less regulation generally comes less public services. While both of these communities have electricity, they do not have city water service. A septic system is required for properties in both of these communities, and a MUD provides potable water services for both Cuernavaca and Apache Shores.
If you’re looking to do something a little outside of the ordinary on your next property, you may want to consider Austin’s wild west communities of Apache Shores or Cuernavaca. Depending on your specific needs, these communities may not be the best fit. An educated real estate professional such as myself can guide you through the intricacies of zoning, deed restrictions, and municipal regulations. Contact me today to simplify the process.
If you’re looking to embrace the holiday spirit in Austin, there are a plethora of events and attractions sure to get you in the mood. Take a look at this list of Austin area holiday events and attractions, and let me know if you have a favorite holiday happening to add to the list!
A Christmas Affair
The Junior League of Austin hosts its annual shopping extravaganza. Proceeds from the event fund various charitable endeavors of the Junior League of Austin. A Christmas Affair hosts around 200 vendors selling unique gifts for the entire family. Santa will be there, and a variety of special events enhance the shopping scene. For tickets and more information visit their website.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is another Austin holiday tradition. The eleven-day event features live music, fine art, and an assortment of other unique gift retailers. The event is complete with a bar and food from Southside Flying Pizza. The Bazaar is open daily from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time on their website or at the door.
Trail of Lights and the Zilker Tree
Trail of Lights: Decmber 8th-23rd 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m
Zilker Tree: November 26th-December 31st 6 p.m.- Midnight
In my opinion the Trail of Lights and the Zilker Tree are the most quintessential Austin holiday events around. Zilker Park transforms into an unbelievable display of hundreds of thousands of lights, that to me, are the essence of the holiday season in Austin. If you’re not up for the entire Trail of Lights, you must spin under the Zilker tree. Twirling under the 3,309 light bulbs that create the Zilker Tree till you get dizzy and fall over is an Austin rite of passage. Once you’ve had enough you can grab a cup of hot cocoa and meander through the full trail of lights if you’re up for it. The tree is free, and the Trail of Lights offers many free nights. Check their site for the full schedule.
Mozart’s Light Show
November 17th through January 1st (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)
Mozart’s Coffee is a beautiful place to enjoy a cup of coffee or cocoa any time of year with the gorgeous Lake Austin backdrop. However, around the holidays, Mozart’s sets up an elaborate light show display with thousands of LEDs creating a holiday wonderland atmosphere. This year, various children’s choirs will be adding to the ambiance. The light shows lasts about 15 minutes, and starts nightly at 6 p.m. running every hour on the hour until 11 p.m.
Ice Skating at Whole Foods
November 24th through January 15th (closed Christmas Day, limited hours Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve/Day)
The flagship Whole Foods in downtown Austin turns their rooftop into an ice-skating rink for the holiday season. The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the $10 admission fee includes skate rental. Check the Whole Food’s website before attending as they are closed for some private events during the week.
Blue Genie Art Bazaar
November 24th-December 24th (closes early Christmas Eve)
The Blue Genie Art Bazaar has been an Austin attraction for over fifteen years. The Bazaar features work from over 200 artists. If you’re looking for something truly unique for someone special in your life, this is a great place to shop! Blue Genie is open daily from 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. Visit their site for more information.
Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker
December 8th- 23rd
This iconic holiday ballet returns to Austin for its 55th year. Ballet Austin’s production of The Nutcracker features beautiful sets, gorgeous costumes, and hundreds of graceful dancers with the musical notes of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Gather your friends and family, and head to the Long Center for a show not to be missed this holiday season. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m.; matinees begin at 2 p.m. Visit their site for tickets and more information.
Have favorite holiday pastimes of your own you would like to share? Email your recommendations.
If you’re like me, a steady marathon of Chip and Jo’s Fixer Upper, leaves me yearning for a flip of my own. Tear down some walls, add some shiplap and large beams, tear out the ugly carpet, and you have a dream home anyone would want to live in. If you’re planning to personally live in the home, a fixer upper offers the opportunity to customize the house to your unique design specifications. By putting in the work, you will spend less money and have a nicer home than if you were to buy a home that someone else already took the time to remodel. Whether you are looking for a fixer upper for a quick flip or a permanent home, Austin has a wide variety of fixer uppers ripe for renovations. Take a look at these 5 Austin area homes that with a little TLC could be true show stoppers.
1. Large East Austin Home with Guest Unit
2. Great North Austin Home on Private Lot, Easy Access to Mopac
3. Westlake Estate on Nearly 2.5 Acres with Sprawling Views of Barton Creek
4. Conveniently Located South Austin Home
5. Central Austin Fixer Upper, Walking Distance From South Congress Strip
1. Popcorn Ceilings
I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who liked popcorn ceiling. I mean really, who invented this in the first place? It’s hard to clean and generally just an eye-sore. Popcorn ceiling is also challenging to remove. You must wet it, scrape it, and then repair/paint the new ceiling. Depending on your timeline and budget, I may not even recommend taking the time to remove it. However, if you can work it into your timeline, buyers will thank you!
2. An Ugly Yard
Is your yard over grown and unruly? Do you have weeds the size of trees? It’s vital that your home gives a great first impression. You want people to be enticed to look inside your home, and the first step to this is making sure your curb appeal is A+. Mow the lawn, trim your shrubs, blow dead leaves and consider adding colorful flowers to lure those buyers into your home!
3. Distracting Walls
An accent wall here or there may actually be beneficial to your home’s appearance. However, if your home has a rainbow of bright colors in every room, you may want to consider painting. There’s nothing wrong with your purple bathroom, but I recommend neutral colors. You want your home to appeal to all buyers. By using bright colors, it is highly likely you will turn off a majority of prospective home buyers. If you have outdated wall paper, it’s also time for an update. Strip the archaic floral prints, and add a coat or two of a neutral paint to remind buyers that your home can still be lived in this century.
4. Carpet, Carpet Everywhere
Shag carpet in the bathroom? Hell NO. Carpet in the bathroom or kitchen is a major negative for today’s buyers. Truthfully, most buyers today don’t want any carpet! If you have hidden gorgeous hardwoods under that ugly, worn out carpet, pull it up today! If you uncover, concrete, you may consider staining it for an affordable improvement. There are also a number of inexpensive laminates and tiles that look like wood that buyers will love. My one recommendation for flooring is try to keep it consistent. Buyers prefer a single flooring type across the home. If budget is a concern, consider replacing the flooring on one level of the home, or leaving carpet in the bedrooms only.
5. Outdated or Incongruous Fixtures
Lighting and plumbing fixtures can easily be swapped out to give your home a new look. Outdated or dirty faucets can be replaced for around $100. Maybe your fixtures are modern, but they simply don’t match one another. If you have light fixtures in a mix of shades, you can even remove them and spray paint them the same color to give your home a more congruous feel. Remember how I said no one likes popcorn ceilings. I’m pretty sure no one likes overhead fluorescents with Plexiglas either. Consider changing out your overhead fluorescents with pendant, track, or recessed lighting.
Clutter is by far the easiest item on this list to tackle, and it will have profound results. Make your home look like a hotel room. There should be very minimal items on any countertops. I recommend homeowners keep a box or caddy under the sink with all of their essential items. This way it is easy to take out and use, and then out back under the sink away from sight before showings. Remove personal items! There should be no stacks of bills on desks or dirty laundry on the floor. I once showed a home, and there were feminine care products on the bed! It certainly made a lasting impression, but not the right kind.
Prospective home buyers will misconstrue a dirty home for a poorly-cared for home. You want buyers to see your gorgeous quartz countertops, not stains from this morning’s coffee mishap. Imagine how your mother in law would view the appearance of your home. Do you hear her nagging voice in the back of your head? Tidy up your home, so buyers can truly see the property instead of disregarding it due to the scum marks taking over the shower.
Ready to start discussing which projects you should tackle before putting your house on the market?
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.