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MUELLER TOWER LIGHTING CEREMONY

Mueller Tower Lighting Ceremony

Ralph Barrera American Statesman

Mueller Tower Lighting Ceremony

November 29, 2011

6 PM – 8 PM

It’s that time of year again.  As we enter into the (cold?) winter months, it also means that it’s time to light “NOEL” atop the old control tower here at Mueller Austin.  A little history of how this tradition began:

“The tradition of lighting NOEL atop the tower during the holidays began the year construction on the tower was completed in 1961. The “Noel Tower,” as it came to be known, was lit every year for the brief holiday season until the energy crisis in the 1970s forced the City into a period of conservation. The NOEL lights on the tower were relit in 1982 in memory of the late Colonel Murphy, a former City Aviation Director, and were lit each holiday season until the airport closed in 1999. Catellus commissioned a new NOEL display for the 2006 lighting and an additional display for the Tower¹s adjacent side in 2007.”

So, today we are in the 6th consecutive year of this tradition, which always promises a good time.  Refreshments, live music, holiday activities & loads of activities for kids.

MUELLER’S GONE SOLAR

Austin Mueller Homes with Solar PanelsIf you’ve made a visit to Mueller Austin recently, it was probably impossible to ignore all the solar panels that are blanketing the neighborhood.  More than 200 homes have gone solar in Mueller, around 30%!  A once cost-prohibitive improvement is no longer – the incentives from Austin Energy coupled with the rebate being offered to Pecan Street ProjectParticipants & the federal tax incentive, solar panels are now a win-win-win situation.

Let me break it down for you:

  • The Austin Energy rebate for solar panels is $2.50/watt.  They also offered an additional incentive of $0.50/watt this summer for systems installed by September 30, 2011.   The rebate is capped at $18,000.
  • Participants in the Pecan Street Project receive an additional rebate of $0.50/watt for south-facing arrays, $0.75/watt for west-facing arrays & $0.80/watt for a combination of the two (provided an inverter for each directional orientation and at least 2 kW in west-facing installations)
  • 30% tax credit as a Federal incentive

Let’s do the math using a 6 kW system, as an example, that has both a south- and west-facing array, as described above.  Without any rebates, you could be looking at an approximate cost of $26,000 (depending on a myriad of factors, of course).  Taking into account all rebates and incentives:

  • $3/watt (Austin Energy) * 6000 watts = $18,000
  • $0.80/watt (Pecan Street Project) * 6000 = $4800
  • Out-of-pocket $3200 and a 30% Federal Tax Rebate brings us to a total cost of $2240

The payback period in terms of savings, of course depends on your homes’ energy usage.  For my household, it comes to about three years.  So, using today’s Austin Energy rates, we are looking to “break even” in three years.  And we haven’t even talked about what solar panels do to the market value of the home, but I’m willing to bet it increases the value by more than $2200.

So, do solar panels add value to my home?  

While there are lots of numbers and equations out there, which attribute a certain value to solar panels, the reality is when you’re talking about what it means to your bottom line when selling your house, the market is what gives the real answer.  So far, the market hasn’t had much of an opportunity speak; comparables are scarce and differ greatly from state-to-state, city-to-city and neighborhood-to-neighborhood.   The onus to prove their value is on the agent marketing your home – finding the right buyers who place value in an energy-efficient lifestyle and placing a spotlight on what it means financially speaking, as well.

Keep in mind one significant factor when pricing your home with solar panels: the rebates in place when selling your home.  Even though you have a $26,000 system, if potential buyers could receive the same or similar rebates as yourself, then that has an impact on how much they value it (or it should, at least).      

If you would like to discuss your home’s value and how your energy efficient features contribute to it, get in touch with me Hilary Herrin 913.8642, hilary@hilaryherrin.com

MUELLER SILENT LISTING UNDER CONTRACT

Mueller Developement Plan Austin

Another success story from the Mueller Silent Market.  The Standard Pacific Moore Hill floor plan at 4021 Camacho that I have been marketing on the Silent Market is now under contract.

There are not too many homes available at the Old Airport these days.  With the next phase of homes quite a few months down the road, resales will continue to be rather valuable.

Even with the onset of Fall (wait, it’s Fall?  It’s HOT outside!) the market has kept a healthy pace. Over the past two months, 7 (of 20) homes have gone under contract through the MLS.  This includes:

  • 1 Standard Pacific Affordable Mueller House Condo
  • 1 Standard Pacific Market Rate Mueller House Condo
  • 1 unit at Greenway Lofts
  • 4 Yard Homes

So, we’ve all heard that Catellus is releasing 221 new lots to builders for sales beginning sometime mid-2012.  One might quickly assume that the bulk of those will be Yard Homes with some Row Home and Garden Home-type product in the mix, similar to the first two phases of Mueller. Actually, they’re stating that of those 221 lots, only 3o of them will be Yard Homes with the remaining to be more dense product.  With the history of sales, you can bet that those Yard Homes will likely be snatched up.

What will be most interesting to see is how the market handles the influx of a rather generous amount of dense product.  Working regularly with buyers in Mueller I have found that one of the biggest mental adjustments for folks tends to be coming to terms with the size of the yard.  The question looms – will it be big enough?  That concern tends to fade as homeowners quickly become accustomed to having their weekends free rather than eaten up by mowing the lawn.  That, and being surrounded by a plethora of green space that we don’t have to take care of ourselves certainly doesn’t hurt.

With the onset of more dense product at Mueller, I have visions of my Chicago days – living in a townhouse in a bustling neighborhood and reaping the benefits of having a dry cleaner, small grocer and restaurants just steps from my front door.

Want to talk Mueller?  Give me a call, Hilary Herrin 913.8642

2 OF THE MOST POPULAR MUELLER HOUSE CONDOS ON THE MARKET

Rendering Standard Pacific Mueller House Condo

Don’t sleep!  Standard Pacific has recently released two of their UNIT D Mueller House Condos for sale.  These have been their fastest-selling units.  Check out these stats and you’ll see why:

  • 3-Star Green Rating
  • 4 beds/3.5 baths, master down
  • 2337 sq. ft.
  • Flex space, perfect for an office
  • Loft area upstairs
  • 2-Car Garage
  • Adjacent to Lake Park
  • Prices start at $335,000

The amount of square footage (& number of beds/baths) for the price is unprecedented in Mueller and therefore, this floor plan has sold like hot cakes.

Don’t forget to take into account the $242/month mandatory HOA fee.  The hassle-free lifestyle of a condo means that you don’t have a yard to worry about maintaining or insuring the structure of your home, but someone has to, so those fees are incorporated into your monthly HOA dues.

Contact me if you’re interested in more information, floor plans, building specifications etc. Hilary Herrin 512.913.8642, hilary@muellersilentmarket.com

HOW DO OFF-MLS SALES AFFECT MY TAX APPRAISAL?

An interesting question recently came up from a Mueller neighbor:

Q: Will the fact that homes are being sold off the MLS have an affect on the availability of sales data, and therefore my tax appraisal?

A: This is a great question.  It is a common misconception that the Travis County Tax Appraisal District has access to sales data through the Multiple Listing Service, and that is the information they utilize to determine our property values.  This, in fact, is not the case – at least the part about them having unrestricted access to MLS data.

Texas is a non-disclosure state, meaning that home sales prices are not publicly recorded and therefore, accessible.  This includes the Tax Appraisal District.  So, unless folks in their office have their Real Estate license, and therefore the ability to access the MLS, sales prices are not readily available to them.  One of the ways they obtain their data is from homeowners who are protesting their property taxes and have been able to access sales data from a friendly Realtor.  All of the evidence that is presented to the Appraisal District is then added to their records seeming as though they have unrestricted access to these numbers.

So, back to the original question, the fact that homes are being sold off-MLS shouldn’t have a direct effect on appraised values if they don’t technically have access to this information anyway but we can present the evidence (particularly if it helps our case).  When protesting our taxes, we can present HUD Settlement Statements for sales that haven’t taken place through the MLS – this is actually a really common method for protesting in new home communities, like Mueller.  A majority of the sales through the builders never made it on to the MLS in the first place.  Similarly, off-MLS resale HUDs are also valid to use when protesting taxes – you just might have to do a little more digging to get this information!

CATELLUS ANNOUNCES NEXT PHASE OF MUELLER AUSTIN

Exciting times at Mueller Austin – more new homes in the pipeline!

Mueller development plans new 221-home section

By American-Statesman Staff | Monday, October 3, 2011, 11:01 AM

The Mueller development is ready for another expansion.

Catellus Development, the project’s master developer, said today that work is set to begin on another 221 single-family homes just east of the future Mueller town center. Work on roads, lots and utilities should begin this fall, with homes likely ready for move-in sometime in 2012, Catellus said.

The new project, which will include four homebuilders, will bring the number of homes in the Mueller development to more than 1,600. David Weekley Homes, Standard Pacific Homes and Streetman Homes will be among the homebuilders taking part, with a fourth to be announced in the next few months, Catellus said.

Situated on the site of the former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, the Mueller development is a 700-plus acre master-planned new urbanist community. The development is projected to eventually have 5,500 single-family and multi-family homes, a mixed-use town center district and 4 million square feet of commercial space.

MERITAGE RESALE IN MUELLER AUSTIN

A new listing has hit the MLS in Mueller Austin, pictured here.  Some details about the Meritage 1902 Floor Plan at 4221 Threadgill Street:

 

  • Built by Meritage in 2009
  • 3-Star Green rating with Austin Energy Green Building Program
  • 3 bed/3 bath, 2001 sq. ft.d
  • Master and second bed & bath down
  • 2 living areas, 1 up 1 down
  • Formal dining room
  • Sits directly across from Garden Court 2
  • 20″ hard tile, hardwood floors & carpeting

 

Let me know if you’re interested in taking a look.  As a Mueller Austin Realtor, I am happy to show you the house and represent you as a buyer in the transaction at no cost to you 512.913.8643 or hilary@hilaryherrin.com

MUELLER AUSTIN & PECAN STREET IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

The Pecan Street Project at Mueller Austin is a smart-grid demonstration project that is supported by a $10.4 million grant from the Department of Energy to “develop and test an integrated clean energy smart grid of tomorrow in the homes of today.”

One of their latest endeavors is to bring one hundred Chevrolet Volts, which run partly on electricity, to participants in the project, who will receive a significant rebate.  Researchers are interested in studying how car charging can be integrated with solar power.

HOMES FOR SALE IN MUELLER NOW

There are homes for sale in Mueller Austin right now ranging from 550 sq. ft. and $149,000 all the way up to 3330 sq. ft. and $899,000.  Talk about an economically diverse community.  Some are resales, some are brand new construction.  If you’re interested in more information or taking a look at any of these homes, please contact your Mueller Austin Neighborhood Realtor, Hilary 913.8642

YARD HOMES
4 currently for sale

  • 2128 McCloskey $365,000, 1842 sq. ft., 3 bed/2.5 bath, David Weekley Willie Floor Plan.
  • 2208 Tom Miller $412,477, 2075 sq. ft., 4 bed/3 bath, Standard Pacific Moore Hill Floor Plan.
  • 4320 Scales $525,000, 2521 sq. ft., 3 bed/2 bath, Streetman Guadalupe Floor Plan.
  • 4016 Pinckney $559,000, 3023 sq. ft., 5 bed/4.5 bath including garage apartment, Standard Pacific Andrews Floor Plan.

DAVID WEEKLEY GARDEN HOMES
1 currently for sale

  • 3900 Threadgill #9 $325,716, 1622 sq. ft., 2 bed/2.5 bath, David Weekley Stanfield Floor Plan

STANDARD PACIFIC MUELLER HOUSE CONDOS
10 Affordable & 3 Market Rate for sale

  • AFFORDABLE UNITS: Simond $157 – $162,000, must qualify for the program (you can find General Eligibility Guidelines here); 1271 – 1333 sq. ft., 2 bed/bath
  • MARKET RATE UNITS: Simond $288,315+, 2001 – 2009 sq. ft., 2 bed/2bath

GREENWAY LOFTS
2 currently for sale

  • 1324 Robert Browning #108 $149,000, 551 sq. ft. 1 bed/1 bath
  • 1324 Robert Browning #304 $264,900, 992 sq. ft., 2 bed/2 bath

CUSTOM HOMES
2 currently for sale

  • 4301 Mattie $795,776, 3275 sq. ft., 4 bed/4 bath + 3 living areas.  This is a new David Weekley Mueller Estate Home and is currently under construction
  • 4229 Camacho $899,000, 3300 sq. ft., 3 bed/3 bath + 2 living areas.  Now a resale, this home was built by Durrett Interests as part of the Parade of Homes 2009

NOT IN MLS

 

UPDATE ON MUELLER THREADGILL ROW HOMES

Floor plans have been finalized.  Building specifications are in.  And, I have a really cool virtual walk-through of the space so you can get a feel for the flow of the floor plan and some of the features of the homes.  Here are some screen shots to give you an idea.  Let me know if you’re interested in taking a look and I’d be happy to share with you.

The quality and finish-out of the homes will be like what you see in Muskin’s work on the custom homes on Camacho.  Seriously.  I’m talking high-end, high- quality construction.  Metal roof; custom cedar accents, including garage doors. Downstairs the floors will be stained concrete and upstairs they will be wood. Cedar barn doors in master bedroom and bath; frameless glass shower door in master bath; custom built-ins in mud room; the list goes on.

You will also have the ability to customize much of the space if you get in early enough in the process – cabinets, back splash, tiling in bathrooms and kitchen, stain color of concrete flooring, type of wood floors, lighting, hardware etc. In addition to the cool design aspects of the homes, they’re also going to be super-Green, with a 5-Star rating and LEED Certified.  You will have the option to build your home solar-ready, making the installation of panels a breeze.

The two end units are priced at $420,000 and the middle unit is $400,000.

With only three of these, this project is really special.  It’s exciting to bring new design aspects to Mueller, helping to keep the neighborhood interesting and exciting.

Contact me if you would like to check out the virtual tour and with any other questions you might have, Hilary Herrin 512.913.8642