George Vance McGee, Broker Associate, Austin Silent Market

George Vance McGee is a native Austinite, author of 3 self-published books and a Realtor with Austin Silent Market. He has seen all of the tremendous growth and changes that Austin has experienced and enjoys helping his clients navigate the current market.
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Troy: Good afternoon, Austin. this is Trish liqueur with the Austin spotlight. I am joined today by my guest, George Vance, McGee of the Austin silent market. How's it going, George Hey,​​​​​​​

George: Okay. Troy, beautiful weather today and nice and crisp and, feel it feeling well, so good. Good one to be a part of​​​​​​​

Troy: Exactly. Yeah. After that freezing cold weather, just a little bit nicer, warmer weather. Some sunshine feels good. you know, getting, getting to Austin spring here in, middle of February and stuff. So it's, looking, looking nice. Going to be hot weather before we know it.​​​​​​​

George: It's inevitable. So yeah,​​​​​​​

Troy: Still preferred over the cold weather any day of the week, so,​​​​​​​

George: Oh, definitely. Yeah. Very, very light jacket dish.​​​​​​​

Troy: Yeah. Right. so you're again with the Austin Seattle market, which is a real estate brokerage here in Austin. So same field as I am, which is awesome to kind of get to chat and collaborate with someone else in the industry. I know there's, you know, people sometimes kind of think that all realtors are against each other and in reality, we have to work with each other a whole lot more often and in the reverse. And so it's always good to, get to know other realtors kind of see their ideas and opinions on things. So really appreciate you coming on.​​​​​​​

George: Yeah. Yeah. I'm glad to be on here, Troy, and you're right with, you know, the popularity of Texas and how, strong the market is in central Texas and beyond, you know, just this year alone, I've had clients out searching, you know, beyond the Austin board of realtors limits. I, I joined the Houston board of realtors, for a brief period of time and showed some property and the mantras and the Heights neighborhood, and then recently helped a client, get a property under contract in San Antonio in the south county neighborhood kind of just south of the downtown and the Alamo area. so yeah, this, even though, you know, when you pass your test, you know, your license is valid in the state of Texas. our industry has some intricacies where, you know, which board are you a member of And, there's almost kind of like congressional map type things, but,​​​​​​​

Troy: I've heard​​​​​​​

George: Of that. Yeah, they overlap and some are stronger than others and the dues and the entries changed between say board and hill country. so it, it can get a little convoluted. I mean, we, we kind of pre discussed this a little bit was, you know, why, why doesn't the state of Texas just have one, you know, MLS. So if somebody has an Odessa and they want to buy something and Midland or someone in Dallas wants to buy something in Austin, I mean, isn't technology about simplicity and helping clients and serving them. So it's just an idea.

Troy: And obviously, I mean, it feels like there's the potential to go that way. I think government and kind of regulatory things, which, you know, the board of realtors really is kind of a regulatory association always tend to kind of dig their heels in on some of those kinds of changes a bit. I'll also to like say there's some people who, if they're not wanting me, I'm sure that would increase charges overall, which some people would be like, I don't want to sell homes or buy home, help people buy homes in these other areas. So, I mean, I'm sure there are some re there and some reasons against it. Some, you know, I, I don't really sell over the state mean because I don't know those other areas near as well. And so I like kind of staying a little bit more here in Austin, just because it's, I'm just the familiarity with the neighborhoods and things that way. But, but yeah, no, I mean, again, there's, the, there should be probably a little bit more flexibility of options, to try to make it best for the client, which is, you know, one of the, one of, if not the key tenant of being a realtor is you're supposed to do what's best for your clients.​​​​​​​

George: Yeah. That's, that's correct. Cause the forums are essentially, you know, the same, you know, I use the, like to use the tar forums, Texas association of realtors. So, you know, essentially the same car rental application four page form would be the same and in Austin, as it would be in Cedar Creek or bass drop or suburbia or the country. so there, there are some, some things that are, are similar throughout it. but yeah, getting, getting the whole state of realtors on one page, I can see how that would be an uphill battle.​​​​​​​
Troy: That's that's a amount that's a hill. I'm not really trying to climb though. I, to trying to do a little too much. so why don't you got to give us a little bit of background of yourself. You're one of, what I think a lot of people would, figure is a unicorn here as far as a actually native and multiple generation Austinite. So kind of give us maybe a little bit of your background and then how you haven't gotten to real estate.​​​​​​​

Speaker 3: Well, great question, Troy. You know, I was born in 1981 to some awesome parents at Seton hospital, which still exists, on a 38th street. And so I was a kid in the eighties, high school kid in the nineties, went to the, to the university of Texas. There's my horns in the, in the two thousands. took a little sabbatical and lived in New York city for about five years and had come back. But, that is correct. Us. Locals are, are called unicorns. There are just, as you're aware of you work with them, I work on they're around us all the time, just the plethora, and barrage of transplants. And no, no, they're not all just from California. You know, my, my wife, I'm lucky enough that the need and have is my wife is from Missouri. So, you know, Austin and central Texas, we get, transplants from everywhere that, New York, Florida, that like our weather, like our vibe, I love the indie spirit of it love kind of being the blue dot and the red state, having the sunny weather and having their, what used to be their, their dollar go a little little further for the pricing.​​​​​​​

George: But as, as we're seeing the pricing per real estate is getting pretty high, but, I have, you know, seeing the changes of, of Austin going from, you know, the slacker Richard Linkletter movie of, of the nineties of people lounging around and, not really doing much seeing shows too. And if you're not working hard here, then I don't know. I don't know how you're paying rent and bills or if you've got a trust fund kind of, can I be a part of it as well, but, yeah, but the culture has, changed and there are still some, some core elements, but, we could talk about this for a while.​​​​​​​

Troy: Yeah, no, it's, like I said, there's obviously a lot more native Austinites than, you know, or realize sometimes, but yeah, I was just like say the plethora of people that have moved to Austin in the last 10, 15, 20 years and are getting continued to move definitely makes, the, the natives kind of a smaller percentage of the overall population. It's also kind of like while California is the, the has the largest percentage of in state, transfers. It still is really not, it doesn't even make up, I think about a quarter percent of all the in state transfers. So you do get people from all over the country that, that move in. And then also a lot of Texans relocating within the state from San Antonio, Houston, Dallas as well too. So it's a, it's a pretty diverse mix of people from all around the state and the country.​​​​​​​

George: Yeah. It used to be, you know, a little more small town S you, when you'd go to the holiday house for burgers and Tarrytown, you'd, you'd know all the parents and dads and families there. And, even if you went downtown, you know, you might see, your high school friends or your kind of immediate contemporaries, and then you kind of knew more people. Whereas today, and in 2022, I'll, I'll do an entire loop around the hike and bike trail past thousands of faces and not recognize one person. So there's, there's a lot of fresh faces, which is, we're just totally cool. So, yeah, people moving away, people coming in, I believe our latest population was, we're definitely in the top 10, top 15 most populated places in the country, maybe top 12. I mean fact check it if you like, but there are just a lot of people in Austin and central Texas and as it, as it expands and continued to,​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Troy: Yeah. I think it depends a little how you look at it if it's just city size versus metropolitan area and some different things, but yeah, it's, it's obviously up there and you know, of, of the large cities, also one of the fastest growing that way. So, w how did you get into real estate or what made you decide to go into real estate​​​​​​​

George: Well, when I was a kid growing up, I loved sports and, you know, watching ESPN and kind of wanting to be a sportscaster. I still love sports. And then in college, my grandfather was on the Supreme court and my uncle ran for state representative. So I kind of had a little bit of a politics bug and, that, that thought that might be interesting, but I want you to the Capitol one time, it's kind of an intern taking notes on meetings, and I just kept falling asleep. And I was like, oh boy, this is, if you're not interested in something, that's just not gonna work. but my dad is the broker of, office out markets. So it's kind of in my blood, if you will like Archie Manning, the Peyton Manning, they're both quarterbacks. You notice that this like Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson they're acting as in their family's real estate, is it just kind of in my blood intrinsically​​​​​​​

So, one summer I went and sold Troy, books door to door for a program called Southwestern. And that instilled in me, wow, the, the sales skills, you know, door knocking, you know, not being afraid of objection, using names, presentation, basically had to sell and have no salary and just speak commission only. So, I became confident in that role and public speaking, and I've been able to correlate to some of those sales skills to real estate, which is a sales business, and relationship building, and, and there's tons of, of different avenues to improve and get better at it. But, at the end of the day, we're progressive consultants and salesmen trying to help people and, and make, make things happen as a realtor, you've got to kind of be somebody that wants to make things happen. You know, if you're, if you're aloof and sit on the side and a little passive, you know, it can be done, but, you know, despite what the Bravo TV tells you, we're just, you know, rich people, drinking lattes and show a million dollar homes. You've got to be out there, you know, aggressive, you know, spinner to make things happen. So it takes some hunger to really thrive and make a living in our industry.​​​​​​​

Troy: Yeah. I T I talked to people who either just have gotten into those that are, are thinking about it. And I, that's what I tell them to really being a real estate agent has almost nothing to do with houses. It's all about the people. And can you, can you find leads Can you find people that need your services because unlike starting a lot of other small businesses, yes. You can go ask your family and friends, Hey, do you need to buy or sell at home But they can't just say sure, because they want to support your business. Like they have to actually need to buy or sell a home in order to do that. And then as, as you mentioned too, there's because it's such an easy industry to get licensed in. We have something like 12,000. I think it's probably more than that. licensed agents here in Austin, everyone knows five or 10 real estate agents. So if you're just sitting back at home, watching TV, hoping that someone's going to give you a call, well, they also could be calling a bunch of other people who are probably out, you know, being more active. So it's, it's definitely, while it can be a really great industry to be in, it's not, definitely not as simple you say, as, as TV shows may want it to portray

George: Yeah, it is. It is not like chip and Joanna Gaines just going in there with the fixer upper. so it is a, it is a real job. And so it's not for everyone. you know, experience helps a lot. And, you know, something, something bad will happen to you in your career as a realtor, but if you learn from it, and just don't make the same mistake twice, then you, then you end up usually being okay, because just like any industry, there will be waves of, of highs and lows of, you know, million dollar sale, the health and the friend. And then you'll have, you know, deals where it just three days before closing it, just flakes off and something you worked on for, you know, three months. And you're counting on that to pay your mortgage or your, or your next grocery bill. And then you get $0. So, learning to stay even keel and roll with it, service line did not too high, not too low and just keep working, usually, something good will happen if you, if you just keep working.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Troy: So you mentioned you work, your dad's the broker of a company called Austin silent market. so kind of topically, tell us a little bit more about that and kind of the specialty there.​​​​​​​

George: Well, the unique element of our brokerage in each brokerage is different and that's awesome. You know, that's great. I'm glad people have different outlooks on it. There's no one specific way to do it, but for Austin solid market, in addition to providing and working active Abe or MLS services or MLS, properties for sale for lease, we also have what we call a silent market program. And that's for, a niche of, of, of buyers and sellers who just for some reason, or the other just were not willing to go active on MLS. It's their decision it's paper, they're getting a divorce. Maybe they don't really want to sell. Maybe they're testing price. maybe one of their properties has an unpermitted garage and they don't want to, you know, alert code enforcement. Maybe they don't want their taxes to go up. some people are particular about, I don't want, you know, photos of the inside of my home on all the Zillow and Redfin and third-party sites, recently had a sale with an older, couple 65 plus, and, it's possible. They didn't want a lot of unknown strangers coming in, maybe passing COVID around or, you know, just more cognitive of, of their health needs. So as you, as you can see, there's a, just a smorgasbord of reasons for each specific seller on why they wish to do that. And we kind of have a place for them here, and listened to them and just try and provide services to their unique, situation.​​​​​​​

Troy: Yeah, no, I mean, right. Like I, and I'm sure for you guys as well, even focusing on it, the my guess would be that the majority of the business that you guys do is still on market. I know, that I don't necessarily focus, you know, obviously you don't have the silent market in my title necessarily, but you do what's best for the client, right Like you say, in this case for the older couples, there could be any number of reasons why not having the home on the public market makes sense for them, but that is generally the place where you're going to get the most views, the most traffic and ultimately the highest price, which for most sellers is kind of is, is kind of the ultimate goal is to really capitalize on that price. And so, but again, Riley, it's about doing, again, it goes back to the first thing we talked about doing what's best for the client.​​​​​​​

George: Yeah. And then on the flip side, you know, buyers, George ranch. Well, okay. You just reeled off the sellers, reasoning, why as a buyer, would you want to purchase something off the market Well, if you purchase something off market or are able to find something, usually there's less competition. and as we can see with some of the MLS properties, we're seeing these bidding wars, just, just get a little, little too out of hand. I work with a good number of builders and investors, who build spec properties and new development. and they, love buying stuff off market because they don't like the, you know, the sold prices disclosed in the MLS or the taxes going up or the new buyer reverse and, the price from the land to the new construction and then finding out that way. so there's, there's pros and cons for both sides, of the seller and the buyer as well, to do it. So it's often the one kind of, kind of win, but like you said, Troy, it's just an additional kind of niche and channel, you know so we, we happily, work boats. So shoot, if you want to invent a third way to do it, maybe we should.​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Troy: The third way is kind of how most of the investment for most of the true investment stuff's going on. And that's the investor themselves going on, knocking on doors, trying to find someone who hasn't quite made the decision to sell, but it was thinking about it and just kind of giving them a cash offer. And so a lot of times when I have clients that are looking at your investment, but they're not there they're real estate investors. They want to buy properties for investment purposes, but that's not really their full-time gig. And they wonder how other people are doing. And I'm like, they're literally going door to door to try to find that diamond in the rough. Like if you let it hit the MLS, yes. Investing in those properties is still going to be a good investment. Long-term like prices are not going down anytime soon, even as crazy as last year was, we're still at a shortage of homes in the market. Interest rates are still super low and more people are still coming from all around the country. But if you re you know, for the investor, that's trying to flip a home, you really do almost, they, they ha most of them are going out, knocking on doors to try to find that, you know, buy ugly houses, diamond in the rough that they can get and really update. And so those almost never make the MLS and generally, probably almost never make it to you guys to sell even on, off market.

George: Yeah. I mean that, that's, that's even more, you know, out there and aggressive. And if that works for, for them, you know, getting out in front and finding it and for the seller, you know, sometimes these sellers, they don't want to, they just want to sell as is. They don't want to do improvements. They don't want a bunch of showings. They, they don't want the lockbox. They're just like, Hey, if you can net me X from a sale, I'm happy to whether there's commissions on it or not. you know, that's, that's serving the client and hopefully the buyer gets what they want. So yeah, lack of cetera. There's, there's different ways to do it. And, one's not necessarily better than the other. It's just figuring out a puzzle and, serving the clients and the people that the best.​​​​​​​

Troy: So I know you're also an author. Can you tell us a little bit about, the, I believe it's three different books that you've written.

George: Yeah. thanks for asking about that. Troy, it's really just a creative process. Real estate obviously pays the bills and keeps the light on for me, but yeah, in my free time during the evenings, while I'd be watching, you know, late night TV or whatnot, I started blogging and journaling and writing all these entries. And I had three different blogs that, great enough content where I hired a publisher, hired a creative person and then turned them into books. So I used a Lulu for, one of my first books, open, mindful philosophy on the fly, and then create space or attractive tails from grantees, social memoir. And my most recent book, the nation that we live in, was also a blog as well. And then all three of them are on shelves, like, nine to 12 bucks at a book people, downtown on sixth and Lamar, which is the largest independent bookstore in Texas. And, it's, just a wonderful spot. They're nice to indie authors like me. And then, I've got a note May 28th and 29th, I'll be at the lone star book festival in Seguin. So if you're a book person and want to go on a day trip that weekend, the lone star book festival eight 28th and 29th, I'll, I'll be there in a tent talking, talking books and lights. So,​​​​​​​

Troy: Very cool. Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's companies like book people, which are like, it's kind of that mixed emotion as far as the progression that Austin's been on, which for the most part I like, and as a real estate agent, it's been beneficial to have, you know, prices go up and more people looking to buy and sell homes, but also a little sad to see things, you know, obviously, but people still go on relatively strong, but you have different, Austin or Texas companies. It's just harder for small companies in general to kind of survive. And so, especially with COVID and a bunch of different things that have gone on, you know, like you see all the development happened on south Lamar and I've lived here for about 17 years now. And I can remember when south Marla quite a bit different. And so there's, you know, some of those, some of the small things that, you feel a little nostalgic for, but at the same point in time, you know, things are always going to change and, and keep moving. And so it's always cool to see and be able to have the support of a Texas based company, like book people for those.​​​​​​​

George: Yeah. The, the indie business aspect of Austin, I think is, is one of the things that is makes our city so fantastic. You know, it's, it goes along with the moniker of keep Austin weird, which has, which was big for a while, but it's, it's, it's kind of losing a little bit, I mean, people might not remember that whole foods started on ninth and Lamar where that, that Goodwill is, and just slowly got bigger and bigger. So, it's not like Austin, doesn't want you to go corporate. It's just, we, we like to encourage and support, you know, our, local people, our local businesses on local brokers, mortgage lenders, just you name it, rather than, you know, the big, massive chains, it's just, you know, knowing the business owner that maybe you've met their family, or, you know, that come to your kid's birthday party, it's more of a relationship building type thing.

​​​​​​​Then, you know, just a little bit of like Donald's at a Starbucks where it's, you know, going to some big old corporate CEO. so that, that is one thing that is cool about, central Austin and independent businesses. And when we lose them, it's, it's tough, because it's, you know, prices, if it's only like likely they're coming back. So all I can say is if you're a fan of indie businesses like that, Troy then just patron them, support them, promote them, advocate them, thank them, for working and, you know, Jeff Bezos is rich enough on Amazon. So, and then now, and then just leave your house and go get your donuts in person or whatever.
Troy: So I would say that's the, that's the tricky part for some people is have having to, you know, the convenience onto, I mean, top of price stuff, right Like we're, everyone's so price sensitive, especially with the way inflation stuff's been going. But then on top of it, just the convenience, that a lot of the technology and bigger companies provide is, and make it hard to be like, oh, I should, I should go to my local store or business to, to do that. But it requires me to get in the car and, and, you know, go out on a cold day or something like that versus click a button and have it taken care of.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​George: Yeah, well, I mean, that's the soul of, of really, you know, central Austin and, and, and Austin, as well as the unique music venues, continental club, red river, east sixth street. I went to hotel Vegas last week. It's the keeping the, live music venues alive. And then also the indie businesses like soup peddler book people, or just something, maybe it's your neighborhood bar or a restaurant, and you just go down there and for happy hour. But, if we, if we keep, you know, the money within, you know, the people we know it'll just help the economy rather than it, it flowing away back to, you know, the big CEO bucks. So, anyway, I, I think that makes, makes things more interesting.​​​​​​​

Troy: What do you see ahead for Austin in the real estate space over the next, you know, over the summer, and then kind of, you know, the rest of the 22 or 2022.​​​​​​​

George: Great question, Troy. you know, your, your podcast is called Austin spotlight. And I remember one of the first silent market homes I sold was in this neighborhood called Allendale, which most people would think of, oh man, that's central Austin, George. Well, when I was talking to some neighbors around and they're like, well, Jordan, back in the day, man, Allendale was out there. There were no roads that was Wayne north, you know, same thing with stuff like rolling would, you know, oh, well that was the country. And oh, he wanted to go to that. They had a music venue. You had to go down this dirt, you know, windy road and whatnot. So, I think Austin will just continue to expand and grow, you know, not, I mean, it's possible that Dallas and Fort worth that whole metroplex of urban sprawl might happen between us and say, San Antonio with, Kyle Buda, the Braunfels St.​​​​​​​

Marcus Antonio. So if you can get the San Antonio an hour, I mean, that's, that's a decent commute for, for any, any kind of grown up. So it's possible that the things will just continue to spread out. because unfortunately we still just have not passed a new zoning ordinance, joy, the city hasn't, you know, code next failed. And, we still have the same zoning rules probably since the nineties. So we're not, we're not moving towards the pro density type type type things, which I personally think we should. you know, I'm not saying we have to go to Houston's no zoning rule and just, you know, throw it all down the trash. But I think we do need to encourage, some more, density in, in the city of Austin to keep more people living here have more affordable price points, let different types of families, you know, live in Austin. That shouldn't all just be single family homes that are three and $4 million. so if we can vary our price points, vary our size of product, we can sell, we'll have a more diverse, welcoming city and more, more inhabitants, which should make it more lively and prosper. so we, we could use a, an uptick on, on the zoning and density. and if not, it'll,​​​​​​​

Troy: It will continue to spread. Yeah. Unfortunately, consensus, almost anything seems like it's pretty challenging to come by, but, but it's kind of what's needed in order to, to make that shift. The other thing too, with, with Texas specific compared to, they say, obviously you lived in New York for a while. And a lot of these people moving from California is we do at least still have the land, right Like there's people that, you know, going out if you live out in Buda or Kyle, I mean, yes, you know, most people don't necessarily want the commute, but if you are used to having to take to change, change to trains in Brooklyn and Manhattan, or if you're used to having to drive in LA traffic, you know, a 40 minute drive from UDA doesn't seem that bad. And then there's so much land and more affordable pricing out that way that it makes it challenging to know buy one of the downtown condos, which you get almost no square footage. And it's a more expensive price because there just really aren't that many of them, even though it seems like a bunch of them have gone up in the last five to six years.​​​​​​​

George: Well, Troy you've mentioned that, that my practices all fall over, but mainly kind of central Texas. Would you describe, maybe the, the difference that you see in kind of that six 20 Lakeway suburbia, Liberty hill vibe sentiment, lifestyle versus versus Austin. D do you see people that just prefer that Or how, how would you describe the differences between the city life and the almost outskirt city life​​​​​​​

Troy: I think so, I think there's kind of two sides to it. I mean, one kind of that six 20 corridor. So, you know, Lakeway, even now almost kind of dripping Springs, up through Cedar park and Leander, they generally have pretty good schools. So that's always been a big draw, I think for a lot of, young families or, you know, a little bit older families is having good schools that their kids can go to with, sports, that way, and then more affordable, right Like everyone, you know, Mo a lot of people contacting me saying, oh, I'd love to get into eons, but when you are three bedroom, two bathroom tear down houses that a million dollars that, that eliminates a lot of people right up right off the bat. So then going a little bit further west for still really good schools, but more affordable housing.​​​​​​​

it's been interesting, obviously the, the start of with the domain has kind of, kind of created almost a secondary hub so that if you want to live, say in Cedar park, you can still do a lot of the stuff that you would have done downtown, but now in the domain, so that, you know, have their kind of, you know, version of sixth street, we can go through, you can kind of walk to a bunch of different bars and do some different things that way. And it's, you know, just a little bit, you know, obviously you don't have the college kids going there quite as much as a little bit more of, you know, older adults, young professionals, and the success that UMaine has now has plans for similar projects. Not quite to that scale in a lot of other parts of Austin as well.​​​​​​​

So Cedar park and Leander are both kind of creating similar projects. There's one out, towards Hadow that's supposed to come on. And so I feel like that, you know, again, unfortunately, it's going to kind of continue with that sprawl, but there's also enough people moving to Austin that if we got more stuff built in the city, that that would, that would, you know, those, those housing units wouldn't go to waste either. The interesting thing that I'm curious about with some of those areas like even Allendale is if they'll, they'll start to turn into California in the sense that we're already seeing a little bit where an older single family home gets bought up, and now you're seeing AMB units or two units go into those properties to kind of increase density and stuff that way. Cause people still do like being close to downtown Austin for a lot of different reasons.​​​​​​​

You don't have to fight as much traffic if you need to go or work down there. There's obviously just more centrally located depending on if you want to get to, Austin FC soccer game, or if you want to go downtown for something. So there's, it's again, there's almost nothing that if developers the city, even individual kind of contractors want to build that people, I don't think, wouldn't be afraid to use that way. The only other thing that I feel like downtown was that has maybe slowed some of the downtown stuff a little bit again with COVID is that a lot of people moving from outside other areas wanted the extra space. And so they're willing to make that farther commute to have a little bit more yard, a little bit bigger home for that same price point, rather than being in a smaller home a little bit more centrally located.​​​​​​​

George: Yeah. I, I met a guy at a coffee that worked for a CoStar, which is like the biggest commercial type of type of MLS nationwide. And, he said, 20, 21 was the best year for rural land they've ever had. And so you're right. The pandemic, especially during the height of it, it forced people out of the city and it made downtown almost not appealing, especially when Austin had those homeless problems, but they've since, you know, ratified that by the public hate, thanks for voting for that. Awesome. Our streets are much cleaner. but yeah, rural, rural America became, if it cool again, fresh air was, you know, on the, on the checklist, it'll be interesting to see the Troy now with, you know, knock on wood, the pandemic kind of lightening up a little bit. The people being vaccinated, double vaccinated, boosted immunity, those types of things.​​​​​​​

If, if the desire to live downtown or live in the city comes back or not at all, you know Yeah. but I think that the balance may be that the pandemic brought to, you know, the desire for rural area suburbia, Austin, you know, the city living, is welcomed. You know, it's nice to have you, you know, people wanting different desires and having different options for city living suburbia, you know, small towns. So in that essence, we're real estate, it, it added a new, I think kind of welcome rink role to do to our jobs and, and help areas that kind of needed it. Yeah,​​​​​​​

Troy: No, I I've said a lot that we were fortunate that this all happened when it, when it did, right. The fact that we could work remotely, whereas 20, 30 years ago, that would have been very challenging. The fact that you can still have, well while having video chats with friends and family is not the same as being in person. It's still a lot better than not be able to talk to them because you have to pay long distance charges on a phone bill or something like that. And so, yeah, I think like say we were, we were always, technology was always kind of leading us down this road where more remote work was going to happen. you know, again, there's no to go to the movies when you can get, you know, stuff's just coming out on apple plus or, HBO max, or all those different types of things as well.​​​​​​​

And so you can get so much entertainment and do so much of so many of those things at home, but at the same point in time, humans are social creatures. And so there's always going to be at least some poll to want to do stuff together, even if you're in smaller, smaller knit communities. And maybe, you know, maybe you're the type of person who used to go to ACL and that's just not something you want to do, down the road. but I think there's a lot of, but again, with how well attended th those types of things have been, this past year, there's definitely proof that people do enjoy doing those, doing those things and being social and hanging out with other people. So again, it's, it may in the pandemic may have actually helped Austin. And some of their issues like traffic, like you say, like, not like some of the density issues about allowing people to move further away from the core and still, and still work for jobs that are in those areas to keep employment and stuff. So, you always just gotta be on your toes and ready for change. Cause that's, that's the only certainty in life has changed.

George: Troy curiously, what is your take on kind of, the Airbnb and the vacation rental market Do you, do you see much of that out there versus traditional leasing there's I live in Travis Heights and SoCo and there's, a lease listing where there, I guess the vacation rentals are allowed for 31 days and this, listing game said, oh yeah, well, George we'd get people working remotely. We furnish it. And we charge them, you know, five to 7,000 a month just for these vacation rentals. Now I don't think the state has passed any sort of statewide ordinance allowing them, or just allowing them. It seems like it's still a city jurisdiction and some small towns are in favor of them. And some art I've talked to a broker agent, you know, in Fredericksburg and hill country. And she said, they're kind of trying to crack down online and limit them a little bit. But, what is, what is your take on, you know, should homeowners and vacation rentals and that type of real estate Yeah,​​​​​​​

Troy: No, I mean, I get that, actually a lot from, from clients and kind of clients that are looking to invest in properties as well. Right. Austin, specifically Lakeway, a lot of the cities have cracked down on the short, short term, so the stuff under 30 days, and not, and making it harder to do that, right. You're supposed to get a permit from the city of Austin or Lakeway or, Cedar park, round rock, these types of areas to be able to, to rent out a property. short-term obviously some people decide to do it without that, but that has kind of cracked down on that. But you're saying because of the work remote, you are seeing people longer stays because they can, I know a few different people who, they were just renting, I think in New York city actually, and now they, every month or so every month or two months, they just moved to a different Airbnb throughout the country.​​​​​​​

So they can just go kind of visit and live in different areas. so it's, it's definitely something that's happened. I know, I, kind of found one guy who, has like 25 different. Airbnb's not here locally in Austin, but I mean, it's definitely still super, super popular for people. there's actually a, on rainy street, it's called the TiVo, which is a condominium complex that I'll actually allows air maybe. Cause that's one of the tricky things with condominiums is, you know, there's, so there's usually potentially state restriction city restrictions, but then anytime you have an HOA, which a lot of Texas properties do and all condos do, they, a lot of times they'll have even stricter rules like that. But this building was designed specifically for, the units to be allowed to be short-term rentals. And so I'm sure that that they're just killing it because there aren't a lot of other options like that in, in Austin.​​​​​​​

But yeah, so most out here it's kind of gonna be the same as Austin in general. A lot of the, if you're in the jurisdiction of the cities, most of them will have, rules or require permitting to do under 30 days. But yeah, that, that 31 day lease is kind of that sweet spot potentially. if you can find people obviously that are looking to stay, you know, can stay longer, want to work, you know, want to kind of test Austin out, potentially to see if it's a place they want to relocate to. And so I don't necessarily, I mean, I don't see that changing I've also was able to speak to someone about, because a lot of companies are working remotely. There's actually a bit of a need for almost, almost like an Airbnb for corporations where they can actually do single day or multi-day retreats for their company.​​​​​​​

Because if everyone is, if almost everyone's here in Austin, but they're all work remotely, like every quarter, they may want to meet somewhere and do, you know, have a Friday where they do a group project, do something in person that day. Obviously those types of properties are gonna look a lot different than a, than a typical residential property is going to look. And, but most commercial space isn't designed for that either. So there's kind of a hybrid opportunity, there as well too. So there's, I mean, I, I think it's one of those that if you can think of a use or property, there is that opportunity out there. Obviously some of those opportunities are more obvious than others buying a home live in it. That's a pretty obvious opportunity, but there really are, numerous different ways that people are using real estate and kind of that fluidity with where you live and how you live and work

George: Well. It's, it's definitely easier to just do the traditional lease, where the, you know, the tenants pay all the bills and they're kind of in control of it. I've had clients go back and forth between doing the short-term versus the traditional and, there's pros and cons for each. You know, the short term is, especially if they're trying to manage it themselves as a, as a job and never really know what kind of, kind of guests you're going to get, but, trying to maximize, you know, their real estate that's one of our kind of duties is, you know, Hey, what's the highest and best use for this property. And whether that's building new, doing an addition, pairing it down, renting it out, tempting to change the zoning. that's always a good way for us as agencies to look, look at something like that and then present their star clients.​​​​​​​

You know, they, they may not have any interest in doing it. They may just say, George, I just want a primary home. And this is just what I want, but, I don't want to say enlightening them, but letting them know, Hey, here are some things you could could do to this property. Oh, Hey, here are the deed restrictions. This is, you know, unlikely to happen. but people forget that. I think you, they just buy a house and closing it's that simple, but there's a lot of underlying things, Troy, that we as realtors, brokers and other good agents and brokers, provide information to clients so that they can make educated choices. So you need restrictions getting inspections. You talked about, appraisals, zoning, you know, what's, what's allowed there. there are plenty of work to be done, and in our job. So it's, it is a real job and a real entity and providing service to people. So hopefully they'll work with us, but​​​​​​​

Troy: Well, it's one of, it's actually one of the reasons I love the job is that there's no two days that are alike, right There's no two clients, there's no two properties that are the same. And granted every once in awhile, it's kind of like, oh, it'd be really easy if you could just, you know, rubber stamp something because it was the same. But, but most of the time it's actually really exciting that things aren't the same and that you get, you know, every day is going to be a little bit different. The kind of, as you were talking to the other pet peeve I have with real estate agents in general, is that too often, they see what they would want to do instead of understanding what the client's trying to do. Now, again, it could be something where you need to educate a client that this there's this other option that they don't know about.​​​​​​​

That could be the right fit for them. But a lot of times you'll, you know, I'll talk to a, I was, I was working with somebody else, but they kept showing me homes that I wasn't interested in because they, it was a home that they, the, the realtor was interested in or thought was a nice home, but it didn't fit what they wanted from a home. And so I tell them, I've sold a lot of homes that are our homes. I never personally would have bought because they wouldn't have been the right home for me, but they were the right home for the client. And that's kind of that key factor.​​​​​​​

George: Yeah. As long as, as long as, as agents and we're educating them as to, you know, kind of what possibly can or can't be done or things about it, as long as we're helping them make informed decisions, then, then let them let them do their thing. I was saying that yesterday at her on Saturday, I just one of my friend's place. And they were like, oh, George, what are you working on I said, oh, well, I'm looking for this buyer. He's looking for a compound for 3.5 million to do his thing. And this, this other buyer wants a four bedroom in the west area to do their thing and just help people do their thing. but in a, in an educated, way so that, so that they don't get any pratfalls, you know, down the line, like some people that, you know, I think I heard of one horror story where a, an investor bought a lot in east Austin and then went to go demo it, and then they couldn't get the demo permit because it was historic and there was a historic person and, oh boy. So then they're like, oh, I just paid 450,000 for something I can't tear down. I thought it was going to tear it down. Oh, what do I do now And, but they didn't do their research. They didn't have a buyer's agent run it past them. They didn't research that during their option period. And they, they, they stepped in it so much.​​​​​​​

Troy: Yeah. Well, I'm sure we can talk through it. I'm sure. I'm sure we can talk about real estate stuff all day long, but, for people that may want to reach out to talk to you more or find out more about you, what's kind of the best way to get in touch.​​​​​​​

George: Yeah. George Vance McGee, a local real estate broker with the offsite market. My phone number is (512) 657-9281. And George Vance with a B at gmail.com check email often and phone. And then also, if you feel like reading a book, go of book people and check out my three books on shelves, there as well. So, those are the, those are the best ways Choi.​​​​​​​

Troy: Awesome. Well, again, it was great chatting with you and then we'll have to do it again sometime.​​​​​​​

George: Right. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. It's fun.​​​​​​​

Troy: Thanks a lot. Have a great day​​​​​​​


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