With a 150 people per day moving to our beloved city, housing is of great demand. At a recent Leadership Austin’s Engage Breakfast Series, the topic was “The Price You Pay: Austin’s Affordability X-Factor.” CultureMap’s Alicia Dietrich provides an exceptional recap. What peaked my interest were the points brought up by Chris Bradford of the Land Development Code Advisory Group.

“There’s no breathing room to build small, multifamily buildings,” said Bradford. “It’s very difficult — unnecessarily difficult — to even build things like garage apartments in central neighborhoods. One of the things we should be focusing on is making it easier to build small infill projects: garage apartments, making it easier to build duplexes, making it easier to build small multifamily buildings, to build four-plexes or six-plexes. Those can be added all over the place and provide a kind of invisible density that will be an important source of new supply.” 

Updating/rewriting the land development code would be a huge undertaking. This would require much input and I’m sure debates. Property owners would welcome a more efficient and less arduous system. Share your insights and viewpoints with CodeNEXT as they work to help create a sustainable land development code for Austin’s future. Neighborhoods, commercial development, affordable housing, character, politics… It will be interesting to see it’s end result.


If you’re thinking about purchasing a duplex or any property, this blog post from Find Your Balance has a great check list.

Find Your Balance

iStock_000007589790SmallOne of the most common questions for potential homebuyers is, “How do I know when I’m ready?” While different people have different levels of comfort with preparedness, there are several key steps that are always a good idea to check off your list before beginning your search in earnest.

Generally speaking, it’s a good time to start seriously looking when you have:

  • Taken the time to educate yourself about the entire home buying process.
  • Researched homebuying programs you may qualify for.
  • Decided what type of mortgage you want.
  • A steady source of income.
  • At least two years of steady employment within the same industry.
  • Plans to stay in the area for at least three years.
  • Completed a forward-looking budget to see what monthly mortgage payment will fit into your spending and savings plan.
  • Determined how much the move will cost and accounted for this in your current budget.
  • Examined your…

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For Sale: 8605 Fathom Circle

Enormous duplex within walking distance to Balcones Country Club Golf Course! 3,000+ SF total and full 3 bed/2.5 bath/1 garage per side. High quality Class A neighborhood. Many individually owned condos on the street. Not your typical rental property street.

Recent wood laminate floors and ceramic tile throughout. Renovated kitchen and paint. Lots of trees and fenced yards. Easy access to Hwy 183/McNeil Dr. 

Seller will consider financing! 

Interest rates have reached 3.5% now and the Austin duplex market is very strong.  We are seeing multiple offers on every property in the better neighborhoods if they are priced reasonably.  The last duplex in north Austin off 183 and Anderson Mill area had 4 offers on it.  Another duplex in south Austin off of Slaughter Ln, in a newer built duplex community (which is rare), had 2 offers on it.  The neighborhood is called Tanglewood and these duplexes are all built 2005 or newer.  Most duplexes in this area are built 1980s by the way, so are substantially older.
We just posted a foreclosure duplex off of Duval Rd and Mopac.  This area is close to the renown Domain retail and mixed-use project, which features an Apple Store, Neiman Marcus, and high end condos.  Please take a look here:
-Hong Lee
The Duplex Dianne Team

Strong rental demand makes from strong duplex sale prices too. What a duplex can charge for rents is a ratio to the possible sales price.


Forbes Magazine has ranked the fastest growing cities in the U.S. for 2013.  Austin is ranked #1 at the top with extremely low unemployment and an economy that expanded 6.3% last year.  Job opportunity is driving much relocation and housing demand.  Homes and investment properties are receiving multiple offers.  For more details, visit:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/morganbrennan/2013/01/23/americas-fastest-growing-cities/

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With the passing of summer and going in to the Fall, buyer activity tends to slow down (as is seasonal).   School has started and many buyers who wanted to get in a home have settled down.

If you are a duplex buyer, this could mean a better time to buy:  there could be less competition and more motivated sellers (who missed the summer boat).  Typically there are less buyers in the September through December time periods.  Less buyers mean less chance for multiple offers and competition.  If you are looking to owner occupy  a duplex with one side vacant, a seller may be more flexible to get the property sold and avoid any prolonged vacancy.  Always find out how long a property has been on the market.

If you are an investor, keep in mind filling a vacancy may be harder going into the October through December time periods.  That does not mean there are no renters, just fewer are out there.  It may be advantageous to drop rent a little to fill the vacancy.  Consider allowing a 4 to 6 month lease to pull out of the Fall and Winter months.   Shorter term leases, by the way, can sometimes charge a premium rent and fill a niche in the market.

So, some good deals are out there if the timing fits your needs in the Fall!

Thanks for reading.


Hong and Dianne Lee

DuplexDianne.com Team

Often we are asked if a duplex unit should be left vacant on one side to facilitate a sale.  There are pros and cons to this and having one side vacant certainly allows for an owner occupant buyer and broadens the buyer pool.

There are two primary kinds of duplex buyers:  the owner occupant who wants to live on one side and the investor who wants a pure investment and prefers both sides rented out.

It would be a good idea to have a short term lease or have a tenant go month to month to keep income coming in for the owner and to keep options open for an owner occupant buyer.   Another option is to have any new lease have a 60 day landlord written notice to tenant to move-out clause.

Another technique is to consider charging a premium rent to allow a shorter term lease of say 3 to 6 months.  A higher rent will translate to a higher selling price for the duplex too.  Higher rents = higher cap rate/return on investment.

Thanks for reading.

Hong and Dianne Lee

DuplexDianne.com Team