Meet the Stone & Acre Team: Lindsay Harris

Welcome to our blog! I am so excited to share my new company Stone & Acre Real Estate with you. I have always thrived in a collaborative environment where creative ideas come to life.

My love of real estate started 13 years ago when I bought my first home in east Austin. I was at a friend’s party in Westlake when I overheard a successful group of men talking about an up and coming area near the Holly Street power plant. The next day I began driving the streets looking for a home that I could afford.  I was 8 months pregnant, deep in student loan debt, and on a mission to find a house for my family. I was devouring real estate books and learning that I should work toward buying a home with a zero down loan. I knew that if I could find an affordable house with good bones, I could pull this off. I met a realtor at an open house who advised me not to buy in that area because it was “unsafe”. I looked at a map and could see that it was a stones throw from downtown Austin, so I ignored her and decided to trust my gut and the wisdom of the men I had overheard at the party. 

I drove the streets every day for three weeks and one morning I saw a realtor pulling a sign out of her car to place in a yard. I pulled the car over and jumped out.  She told me that is was a bank owned foreclosure but needed some cosmetic work. I begged her to hold off on putting the sign in the yard and told her I would be sending an offer that morning. I ended up submitting an offer for less than asking price, which was accepted by the bank, and I qualified for a zero down loan. Getting approval for the loan was a nightmare because I had more debt than money, but those were the days of stated income loans. Miraculously the loan closed and I ended up having to bring only $119.23 to the closing.  It was one of the proudest moment of my life, and little did I know, a moment that would change the trajectory of my personal and professional life.  My mortgage was $50 more a month than I had been paying in rent and that was a stretch! I put $5000 on a home depot credit card to paint the graffiti off the inside of the house, replace a few fixtures and update the flooring.

I was in the 78702 zip code before there was even a coffee shop!  I fell in love with my neighborhood and its rich culture. My neighbors were friendly and I enjoyed the convenience of being so close to downtown.  Life was good. What happened next was interesting. The market picked up and homes in my neighborhood started selling like hot cakes. Every month I could see that my house was increasing in value.  East Austin was being discovered and I began to see the writing on the wall.  Following the advice of my favorite book, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, I started writing down my goals and setting my intentions. Manifesting my desires became a daily ritual. I would literally visualize myself finding homes that were undervalued and off the market.  The mind is a powerful tool and properties literally started speaking to me.  My friends called me “The house whisperer”.

I would drive up and down the streets looking for unkempt properties and track down the owners. My second deal was a boarded-up shack around the corner from my home. It was at the corner of Robert T. Martinez Street and Willow Street. I looked up the owner, found her number, and called her at least ten times. I could never get an answer. One morning after running to get my 6:00 am coffee I thought, I’m going to try her.  She answered the phone!  Half asleep she told me she would sell for $90,000. I had no way of getting a loan because I could barely afford my own house. My mom mentioned a lender she knew in Houston and I called him to see what options there were for me.  He said he had a friend who could lend the money at 12% interest with a balloon payment due in 6 months. I knew in my heart the property was worth more. My family was concerned about me taking such a risk but I trusted myself and my knowledge of the neighborhood. I closed on the house, hired a realtor that was well versed in the area, and sold it the first day on market with multiple offers. I closed on the sale before my first payment was due. I made $50,000 on the deal and I was hooked.

Napoleon Hill was right, I was manifesting abundance and the universe was providing. I ended up selling my first home for $150,000 profit two years later, and bought and sold more than a dozen properties those first few years.  I paid off my student loan debt and launched a career for myself. Not only did I discover the passion for real estate, but I also discovered that my strengths lie in believing in myself and taking risks. It was a powerful lesson for me early on and I told myself that I would never accept anything less than the best for myself.

Once you set goals and achieve them you realize how people and opportunity come out of the woodwork to help.  Besides the birth of my two children, I think the day I closed on my first home is one of the proudest moments of my life. I have set larger goals and dreams for myself but the reward is all the same. It is the art of the deal and the collaborative power of the people you surround yourself with that bring the greatest joy. 

Stone & Acre Real Estate represents that same power. Whether you are just starting your journey or downsizing your life, our mission is to harness the power of teamwork and years of experience in the Austin market to help you reach your real estate goals. As Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything you want in life if you help other people get what they want.” At Stone & Acre Real Estate, we know that our journey begins with this vision. 

Meet the Stone & Acre Team: Britney Yerby

I am thrilled to have joined Stone & Acre Real Estate. Real Estate is so much bigger than buying and selling homes to me, and here is what I mean. I see every transaction as a life-changing experience for our clients - be it one that fills them with joy, sadness, excitement or potential. And I take that very seriously.

The path that got me to real estate is one that has served me so well. When I was only 20 years old, I took a job at the largest advertising agency in my college town. At the time, proofs were still being driven or mailed to the client, so I’d leave school every day and head to my job. There I’d run proofs all over town collecting changes and edits from our clients, to turn around and take them back to the art department where those changes would be implemented. I’d also sit for hours studying and clipping the advertisements our company had created out of all the dailies that came to the office. I learned so much about what marketing and advertising is and the details, hours and planning that go into a good campaign.

I graduated from college and found my way to Austin where I took my first job at a highly regarded public relations firm where I had interned one summer. I’ll never forget my first day driving downtown and taking a ride up to the top of the building to arrive at my fancy new office that overlooked Congress Avenue and the Capitol. I felt like I had arrived! PR is a very exciting and adventurous line of work, and at that job I really got to know Austin and worked with may local companies and non-profits.  I also saw for the first time many women owning and running successful companies.  That experience was a true gift. But something was missing for me. I remember calling my dad in tears after a long, long day at work and telling him I wanted to return to college and get a degree in interior design. My dad, being the risk-taker and entrepreneur he is, said “Well then pack up your bags and do it”. It was a scary proposition for me and I couldn’t let go of my current job and adorable home in Tarrytown, and all my friends to make the leap. But I knew someday, I wanted to do something that dealt with people’s homes and making them beautiful and bringing them to their full potential.

I continued my career in PR, marketing and advertising and went to work for the Lance Armstrong Foundation as the LIVESTRONG™ campaign was kicking off. My boss called to hire me from a street corner in New York City outside the office of the agency that was helping the foundation navigate the LIVESTRONG™ campaign launch, Lance’s success and the money that was flowing into the Foundation at the time. I could have never imagined all that I would manage, learn and experience at that job. I was responsible for any and every piece of collateral that was produced and left the Foundation – all the way from our annual report to marketing pieces and invitations to the every single sign or piece of event collateral we used for our fundraising and cycling events. The work was intense but again, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The creative department consisted of my wonderful boss, myself and my dear friend, our graphic designer and a couple of interns. We worked tirelessly but really learned the process.  I’ll never forget when my boss walked up to my desk in 2005 and said “I’m going to France for the Tour, handle any media that calls”.  She handed me a list of talking points and was off. That happened to be the year that Lance won his 7th consecutive tour. And boy did the media call. I kept a notebook of folks I talked to and did interviews with. I still love looking through that notebook and remembering the excitement of picking up the phone and the New York Times being on the other end.

From the Lance Armstrong Foundation, I was recruited to Razorfish, one of the world’s largest interactive agencies. There I learned what very large-scale campaigns are made of. I worked on a team of about 15, and with several other agencies to produce advertising for AT&T. It was an incredible job and opportunity, but something inside me still wasn’t being fulfilled. The idea of real estate had started to enter my mind, but it was such a leap and again, I wasn’t able to leave a well-paid job and start something completely unknown and new.

And that’s when I met Lindsay. We were at a friend’s birthday gathering and she was seated next to me. I heard her talking to some of the women at the table about all the exciting real estate transactions she had been working on. My ears perked up and I quietly mentioned to her that I might be interested in the business. The rest really is history. From that moment in 2009 and on, she became a mentor and a dear friend. I have worked with Lindsay over the years in real estate, but it wasn’t until this year that our synergy was really brought to its full potential. When she told me about her idea to leave one of the cities most prestigious firms to start her own brokerage, I was filled with ideas and excitement. I could see the energy in her smile and could hear the enthusiasm in her voice. I knew we were embarking on something big. Something way bigger than just selling homes.

My time at Stone & Acre has been just as I expected – fast -paced, full of opportunity and growth and chock-full of potential. I’m beyond excited about the team she has put together for this endeavor. We all bring our own level of expertise spanning several areas of business, and work so well together. I am so honored and proud to be part of it. I simply cannot wait to see what the future holds for our company and for our clients. I really believe the sky is the limit!

Meet the Stone & Acre Team: Katrina Warren

I started my journey in real estate from the moment I was born. I have had the blessing of not only growing up with 23 aunties and uncles and 90 first cousins (yes it really is true), but I was raised on a 650-acre ranch in Northern California’s Mendocino County. From as far back as I can remember, I was taught to love and respect the land and all the abundances that it has to give. From providing us with beautiful gardens to eat from, wood to build our house and even the ability to create a family wine business. My father, Jim Fetzer, has shared with me and my siblings the blessing of hard work and connection to the earth.

I came home from the hospital to my first home built by my father with his own two hands. While some may not have called that home perfect, it was to me. This connection to my first home, is what makes me so excited about being in the real estate industry. Being able to connect with a place that will impact you for years to come, and be the place where your memories are made is truly special.

When I was 19 years old I moved to San Francisco. I remember asking my mom, why rent when I would pay the same per month to buy. At that time rents were very high in the city. So at 19 years old, I purchased my first home. It was an 850-sq. ft. apartment on the seventh floor of a building looking to downtown San Francisco. Being on my own and having my own space is a memory I will never forget. My first home. That experience shaped me beyond belief and solidified my deep love for real estate.

During my time in San Francisco I was fortunate to split my time between there and my family’s ranch when working for the family business at Ceago Vinegarden. I truly had the best of both worlds. I enjoyed the benefits of city life, while also “grocery shopping” on the ranch garden before heading home to San Francisco. I would load my car with an abundance of vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers, fresh pressed olive oil and of course wine. Seeing the benefits of both ways of life and how owning real estate makes both possible is incredible. I was sold. I knew then that I loved owning property and had high hopes of owning more.

In the next chapter of my life, I met a wonderful Texan and fell in love. I experienced first hand the benefit that investing in real estate can bring. Fifteen years in San Francisco gave me the financial opportunity to find the perfect home for myself, husband, two kids and our Rhodesian Ridgeback here in central Austin.

We bought a home in Travis Heights, one of Central Austin’s best neighborhoods. Coming from 15 years in downtown San Francisco, this was a perfect fit for me. I remember writing my checklist of things that I “needed” in my neighborhood. Walkability to shops and restaurants, access to downtown in under five minutes, parks for my kids to play at and large beautiful trees. I found all of that and more.  

I was not sure how “Texan” I could become, being a California girl. But I am in love with Austin. It is a magical city with the water running through. I love seeing people out exercising, eating, shopping and enjoying each other.  I used to drive around San Francisco looking at all the beautiful homes and architecture. I find myself doing the same here. I love each neighborhood and the different energy it brings. I cannot see myself anywhere else. Now that I am a Realtor, I get the pleasure of not only driving by all the homes, but I have the opportunity to share them. One of my favorite aspects of my job is helping the buyer or seller see the greatest potential in the property.

When we moved to Austin, Lindsay was our Broker. Her ease combined with the entire process being seamless and fun created a friendship that has now blossomed into being proud to call her my boss. The philosophy of working as a team and in a collaborative effort is one that goes right back to how I was raised. Working with Lindsay at Stone & Acre, I feel right at home.