AUSTIN (KXAN) — Some residents of East Austin’s Govalle neighborhood are concerned about what they’re calling predatory buyout flyers mailed to homeowners.
John Paul Perales, whose mother owns a home on Fiesta Street, says he feels the flyer is “demanding, harsh and intimidating.”
“When I read it, I just felt that my mom was being bullied. I felt that she was being targeted,” he explained. “It sounds demanding. It sounds forceful. It sounds like, you know, my mom owes this person something.”
Perales says he called the number on the flyer and explained in a voicemail message what he thought of the company’s marketing practices. After that, he said he was issued an apology, and told that his mother was removed from their future mailing lists.
A few weeks later, Perales’ mother received another flyer from the same company. It wasn’t until this second mailer showed up at the home, that Perales says the company identified itself by name: The Great Indoors Property Solutions, LLC.
Perales says his mother has no intention of selling the home she and her husband purchased in 1974. “I’m not going to let that happen here to my mom’s house,” he said.
Perales told KXAN there’s a bigger issue at-hand: gentrification. “We just won’t be able to afford the taxes at the rate that this is going. So, that’s scary,” said Perales. “East side is home for us, and we should not be displaced for their luxury.”
As an East Austin native, Perales says gentrification has meant that developers and investors have capitalized on lower-income populations and neighborhoods, like Govalle. “All this is coming into our neighborhood and they think they’re improving. You’re not improving, you’re displacing,” said Perales.
“They look at us as a commodity, but, we are a community,” he added.
Austin City Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria, who represents the neighborhood in District 3, released this statement: “I’ve lived in East Austin for over 60 years and [have] seen many of these morally-bankrupt predatory schemes before. Thank you to KXAN for helping spread the word about this so folks aren’t scammed out of their homes and their hard earned money…”
Renteria goes on to say if any of his constituents in East or South Austin receive one of these notices, they should feel free to call his office at 512-978-2103, in order to be connected to the appropriate resources to respond.
KXAN reached out to the investment group who sent two flyers to Perales’ home in less than a month’s time. Representatives of Great Indoors Property Solutions, LLC did not wish to go on camera Thursday, but they issued this statement:
The Great Indoors Property Solutions is a different approach to the real estate market as we know it. We offer unique options and solutions to those that may be in a situation where they need to sell quickly and in an as-is condition with all closing costs covered. We do our marketing throughout Travis and Williamson County thru paid USPS postage; we use strategic wording and bright postcards to catch the attention of our potential clients. We never wish to make someone feel targeted; we simply wish to help people sell their home or property in a hassle free way if they choose to accept our offer.”
— Great Indoors Operations Manager
Property Values in 78721
The 78721 zip code that includes the Govalle neighborhood has seen a steady increase when it comes to the median price of a home.
All of the figures for the market data above are year to date, except for 2016, which runs through September. The data illustrates how things have changed in the Austin market in recent years, indicating increases in prices, and over time, provide a good comparison of what homeowners in the area may be offered for their properties.
Home prices in the area are more than 2.5 times what they were 5 years ago. In 2011, you could purchase a home for about $100,000 east of Airport Boulevard. In 2014, the price was $200,000. Currently, in 2016, the price is closer to $300,000.
For more information about the high demand for affordable housing in the market, click here to visit the Austin Board of Realtors website.