In SoCo District
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Stan Barron Properties is a licensed Texas real estate broker


Trying to buy just the right home in the Bouldin Creek area is a challenge. Downright frustrating in many cases. The biggest disappointment is due to the age of the houses here. Most are very, very old. They often have ancient plumbing and wiring, and the floorplans can be a discouraging hodgepodge of room additions with no unified design theme. A complete rehab would cost way in excess of six-figures and could easily take more than a year to complete. Your next bet is to find a residence that has already been thoroughly updated, but you know the likely drawback--the asking price can be sky high. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to 401 West Johanna, Austin, Texas 78704. This may be the home you have been hoping to find. Here's why.

A Sparkling Design
For starters, the small size helps keep the price reasonable. The layout includes 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a 1-car garage. Tax office records indicate the floorplan (see diagram on p. 2) has about 1,441 square feet. If the size works for you, wait until you see the sparkling interior here. It was built new in 1997. The current owners have made many improvements. They put in just over $33,000 in upgrades: $15,000 for the outdoor seating area and stone patio; $5,000 for hardwood flooring on the second level; $1,400 for new fixtures, fans and lighting; and over $10,000 for landscaping, fencing and garage shelving.

The house has impressive curb appeal--it looks big. This is no accident, and it is symbolic of good architecture. The lot is 150' from left to right which allowed for a wide footprint. Instead of a simple box design, note the various setbacks, and the five changes in roof pitch. It gives the appearance of "nested towers".

If you have seen other "for sale" homes that have been a patchwork by all the previous owners, you will feel an instant good energy as soon as you open this front door. Rooms flow effortlessly from one to the next.

Now, keep this in mind: If you face the home, the sun comes up on the left side. This is a corner lot with no house to the left which means all the soothing morning sunlight fills the entire downstairs. The hardwood floors add texture and warmth, and the overall color palette is light and airy.

Do You Enjoy Cooking?
If so, this one has everything on your wish list. Countertops are slab granite--ideal for cutting fresh flowers or tossing down flour so you can roll out pizza dough. The splash area above the granite is marble tiles that compliment the patina of the countertops. Stainless appliances? Check. Gas cooking? Check. Take another look at the kitchen photo--where is the dishwasher? Positioned exactly where any good chef prefers--next to the sink so you can pass dishes straight into the dishwasher.

Part of the fun of owning a great house is inviting friends over for dinner. Here, you can easily reach for a good bottle of wine and festive glasses while you stay in the flow of the conversation. This is a kitchen meant to be seen! (The small side yard works as a play area for kids and pets, but it could also hold a vegetable, herb and flower garden.)

Benefits For Young Children
All bedrooms are upstairs--reassuring because you can hear a young child if she is scared or sick and calls out for you in the middle of the night. Two parks (w/pools)--Big Stacy and Little Stacy--are walking distance from the house. The current owners bike or jog to Lady Bird Lake trail/Auditorium Shores. Zilker Park, too.

Interesting Details About Area
If you could pick just one neighborhood that embodies the vibe Austin is famous for it would be the SoCo District. It holds the highest concentration of that eclectic mix of coffeehouses, dining, shopping and music venues. In recent years, celebrity sightings have included visits by the likes of Julia Roberts, Bill Murray, Jessica Alba, Jake Gyllenhaal, Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Gosling.

Do you have friends or family that live in other parts of the country? How much fun will it be to have them come for a visit! This area is the epicenter for events like SXSW and ACL. Or, what if you and your sweetie want to kick back after a long day at the office? You can walk to restaurants like Perla's, HopDoddy, Lenoir, Sway, Elizabeth Street, Bouldin Creek, Guero's, Polvos, Winebelly, Magnolia Cafe, Doc's or the renowned Green Pastures. Want to hear some music? There's Freddie's, Guero's, and the granddaddy of all local venues, the Continental Club.

Think about where you live now. What would it rent for if you leased it out? Probably not much, but as proof of the appeal of owning a home in this enclave, the owners were going to be out of town during last year's SXSW, and they posted it for a one-week rental with a local online service to see what would happen. It rented for $4,700!

Dear reader, here is your chance to buy a small, gleaming residence in what is arguably one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the country. The Bouldin Creek area is steeped in history--it even has its own Wikipedia page. This is as Austin as it gets. What do you think this home might be worth ten years from now? The home is not yet on the market but it will be in the coming days or weeks. To see, call your agent. The seller is represented by Stan Barron of Stan Barron Properties, 512.626.4911.

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