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What happens when the property is in Cedar Park, the occupant is on his way to Georgia and the owner lives in Ireland? Well, it makes things interesting, to say the least. But in this case, like all others, you simply do what you’ve got to do to get the job done. 

No excuses.

Our first and only face-to-face meeting was with Dustin. Dustin and his fiancée, Lindsey, lived in the house — here in Cedar Park. They’d been the sole occupants since Lindsey’s father, David, purchased the home as an investment, six years prior. Dustin would be running point on the project, stateside, with David permanently stationed overseas. 

And a project, it was.

We’ve written on more than one occasion about the fallacy of relying too heavily on pictures from a previous MLS listing. Too often agents go into their only listing appointment with a preemptive plan of attack. A predetermined list price based on nothing more than neighborhood averages and surface-level information gathered online. 

This is what we’d dis-affectionately call the “price-driven approach.” 

This is what we’d dis-affectionately call the “price- driven approach.” It predictably leads to one of two almost predetermined outcomes, neither of which is particularly beneficial to the homeowner.

It predictably leads to one of two almost predetermined outcomes, neither of which is particularly beneficial to the homeowner.

1) The agent, conveniently, slaps a “slightly under market value” price tag on the property. He or she recommends the path of least resistance. (ie. a commission check shortcut)

2) The agent, in spite of the alarm bells going off inside his or her own head, promises the owner an inflated value as a means to ‘win’ the listing. He or she rationalizes that you can always beg for price reductions later, right?

We’ve always taken a different approach. As far as we're concerned, it’s the only responsible approach to take. We often come to the first listing appointments armed with a blank legal pad, curiosity and a list of questions to ask.

Why? Because experience says that before you can even begin to discuss an accurate prescription, you must run a battery of tests. Bigger picture, it’s a lot easier to figure out how the puzzle pieces will fit together by first getting a good look at the cover of the box. It’s a prerequisite.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.
This property—Dustin and David’s—was a perfect example of the need not to rush to judgment. The only previous record we found—the MLS listing, circa 2009 — boasted of a “Very WELL MAINTAINED, RENOVATED and CLEAN interior … with designer fixtures … granite counters, new stainless steel appliances, tile and cabinetry.”

The listing pictures from circa 2009 did nothing to betray that description. It appeared to be a clean home. Bright. Airy. Neutral. Attractive. 

It was heralded as “a CAN’T MISS property,” back in ’09.

In this instance, online research gave us no reason to doubt what we were walking into. It looked like the type of house that any reasonable buyer would want to snatch up quickly.

Unfortunately, that’s not the story our eyes told us, as we stepped foot into the house six years later. Instead, what we saw was rough around the edges. Overgrown landscaping. Dead grass. Dark paint colors plastered on heavily textured walls. Floors dusted with a layer upon layer of dog hair. And clutter. 

Lots and lots of moving clutter.

In other words, it was the type of property that you’d almost immediately dismiss and reactively under price, if taken strictly at face value.

That said, years of experience have taught us not to make those types of snap judgments. Instead, it becomes an invitation to probe further. To ask better questions and find out what role the owner is willing to play to capitalize on the opportunities for improvement.

They are always there. The opportunities to enhance property value, that is. It’s just that sometimes they lay hidden, out of sight to the untrained eye.

They are always there. The opportunities to enhance property value, that is. It’s just that sometimes they lay hidden, out of sight to the untrained eye.

When Dustin asked, “what we were thinking in terms of market value.” I leveled with him, explaining that in its’ present state, we’d be lucky to sell the house for $X. Prospective buyers—our potential investors—were not likely to be able to look past the noticeable deficiencies.

BUT, I also shared that we've seen other clients — with properties of similar scope — increase the perceived value of their homes by as much as $15,000 to $20,000, with a strategic investment of less than half that sum. This property was a prime prospect for a similar course of action. No need to sell this thing short. 

It had potential. 

Potential that would reveal itself as the process unfolded.

Dustin agreed and explained that both he and David were interested in capitalizing on such an investment. Though the bigger concern was maximizing profit inside of a given window of time. A vacant, unsold property did neither gentleman any good. David would be footing the note until the home sold and Dustin & Lindsey’s future down payment, on a house in Atlanta, was tied up in the equity.

With clear parameters in place, it was time to get to work. We recommended that Dustin reach out to specific members of our trusted Execution Team. 

Dustin appreciated the recommendation but explained that he "had it under control." He’d contacted a “contractor” and was waiting for a return call and a site visit. 

I suggested how difficult it can be to manage contractors from within ten feet, let alone from thousands of miles away. Within two weeks time, he would be permanently living out of state. We did not want to see either of them taken advantage by a lazy or unscrupulous contractor. Someone who lacked accountability without daily supervision. 

We’ve seen it happen too many times. 

It never ends well.

And see, that’s the great thing about working with our Execution Team. We've already vetted the trades. If they don't provide great service, we don't recommend them. This, of course, is crucial for out of state owners.

A week later, after being stood up, for a third time, by his original contractor, Dustin called asking for help. We immediately put him in touch our team. Within days, the project was scoped out and the work began in earnest.

You know it's typically a good sign when you start to hear comments like, “I’d sell my house tomorrow and buy this one, if I could,” coming from the people who are actually doing the work on the house. That’s actually happened on more than one occasion recently, as we prepare homes for sale. It’s music to our ears because the eventual buyers usually echo the same sentiment. 

And that was most definitely the case here.

When all was said and done, to a man, we were blown away by the transformation. A night and day difference between the house that we’d walked into six weeks prior and the one that I was proud to stake my ‘For Sale’ sign out in front of. 

After 72 hours of exposure to the market, we stopped the bidding at six offers and settled on a cash offer – over asking price that closed in less than three weeks. Bullseye. This is just another illustration of what can happen when owners go all-in with their trust and commitment to taking a Value-Driven Approach to Sell Real Estate.

It just makes sense.


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Helping Sellers On The Move
"Ryan listed my property on the MLS on a Wednesday morning. By noon the next day, my dilemma was deciding which over-asking price offer I was going to accept. That was a fun problem. I know I’ll never have to stress about real estate in Austin, Texas because Ryan France is on the mound!"
Lauren Neil-Jeffrey
"Ryan was the perfect Realtor for us. His advice on staging our vacant house was the most important reason it sold quickly. The sale of our home was a pretty complicated process. Ryan’s patience, honesty and straight-forward attitude were key in seeing this complex processes through."
Ankur Jain
"Once my house sold (above asking), I got a call from Ryan asking if I had a favorite charity for which he could make a donation to commemorate the sale. I was slightly taken aback ... then I realized that I shouldn’t be surprised at all. Not only is Ryan a good Realtor, he’s an even better human being."
Dale Blandin
"Ryan displayed complete professionalism and was always prepared. His skill at marketing was superb! The house was under contract within a week of listing! He knew where to focus efforts for the best results and he is very detail-oriented. I highly recommend him."
Luke Childress
"Ryan and his team were very helpful in making my condo stand out and sell quickly. He was proactive & effective in his communications. I always knew what to expect and where we were in the process. Ryan is the consummate
professional. You will be in good hands."
Laura Tomlinson
"Ryan had our house under contract in less than 48 hours, with 6 offers. Many of the Realtors commented on how the house was “staged and priced perfectly” thanks to Ryan’s advice. Ryan was extremely easy to communicate with and made the process of selling of our house as easy as possible."
Shelly Weathers
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