January 10, 2022

What Makes Smithville Special


Every morning I find myself at the Old World Bakery on Main Street. Their egg sandwich with bacon on white is fantastic, and I rarely need to order it; Heather knows what I want when I walk in. There is something about being greeted by name and eating breakfast with friends. A similar experience occurs when I am at Iron Tiger Gym. Luis is always there to encourage me to hit my goals. He knows my struggles and what is going on in my life.


Sometimes I will stop into First National bank with no other purpose than to chat. My neighbors Andreas and Jill are there if I need help with my horses, and I know Catlin with C&I Customs is always willing to drop everything and help out. While eating, I met the delightful man who has bought the Saunders' insurance building and plans to open an antique store. A couple of days ago, I officially bought Van Zandt Properties (Yay me!). Ann and the crew all went to The Blazer Bar and Grill, where the owner Frank celebrated with us. 


Smithville is special. There is honestly nowhere else that I have been that I feel as cared about and accepted for who I am. As a hard-working female REALTOR® that doesn't fit small-town Texas's mold, I have been incredibly supported and believed in since the moment I moved to Smithville. Finally, I've found my place. 


Smithville is special because Smithville cares. There is never a moment when I feel that somebody is too busy or important to help me succeed. This town identity is something of which to be proud.


I will never forget the man I recently helped find his dream home in Smithville. Seeing him discover our town for the first time caused me to fall in love with it all over again. I have assisted numerous people as they find their first place or move into their second. It occurs to me that I am now a part of what makes Smithville special. I am that trusted REALTOR® at Van Zandt Properties who is always ready to answer questions or help out. What an honor it is to be one of the people touching lives and making homes feel more like home.


As Smithville grows, which it is at a remarkable rate, let's remember what makes this town great. 


You do.


January 7, 2022


The Moment Before Smithville Changed

I'll never forget the moment five years ago that we decided to move from Central Austin to the country and start our farm. I had rabbits that I had to hide from the neighbors, and our chickens were making trouble. Trying to run a mini-farm in the city wasn't working, and I had again been forced to get rid of my sweet birds. I looked out at my empty coop for the second time, and I knew. I glanced at my husband, and he knew as well. We were done. Sitting in the kitchen that day, we agreed to sell everything and move an hour away to paradise- Paige.


I love the movie The Lord of the Rings. There is a scene where Frodo's companions found mushrooms on the road and they, being Hobbits, were naturally hungry. Frodo is looking down the road, and a zoom occurs. First, the camera zooms in on the road, then his face. Frodo knew something was coming. There was about to be a significant change. He yells, "Get off the road!" The viewer feels the anticipation knowing something is about to happen. The same effect occurs in The Last Jedi when Luke is staring down the forces of Kylo Ren, and there is a zoom onto Luke's face, showing his resolve. The effect in both scenes is called the dolly zoom. A zoom while the camera moves creates the impact of the background moving separately from the subject. The feeling it gives the gleeful movie-goer is one of great anticipation.


Just like the juncture where I decided to change my entire life and move, and the moments in these movies, we are all in a "Dolly Zoom" moment in Smithville. The town is on the edge of change. Well over 200 brand-new built homes are currently on the books to happen in a short amount of time. A mixed-use community currently planned will border the north side of Highway 71. There will be restaurants, stores, and even offices. Whole new subdivisions are coming. Even though all of this is about to happen, our real estate is still relatively affordable compared to nearby Bastrop, Elgin, and Austin. We are in an unprecedented moment of opportunity. The prices in Smithville are up .5% year over year, while Bastrop is up 48.6%. (https://www.redfin.com/city/17537/TX/Smithville/housing-market)


Am I, a local farmer/REALTOR®, happy about the coming change? Yes and no. Change is never easy, but the old quote says that the only constant thing is change. It's going to happen, and I am relieved that I already have my farm in some ways. There is a lot of hope that comes with change and many growing pains. We all love Smithville precisely the way it is, which, with a bit of luck, we will weather the growth without losing its charming personality. My hope is that we work together to capture and preserve the essence of what makes Smithville special. In that case, we may even enjoy the future more than the present.


My advice is this: Now is the time to secure your Smithville future. Call your favorite REALTOR® and look for the property that you know will serve you well in the years ahead. We are easy to reach and never too busy to chat at Van Zandt Properties if you would like. 


The Dolly Zoom is happening right now, and we all have decisions to make before the change begins.