5 Questions with Francie Little
With a personal approach to business characterized by impeccable professionalism mixed with warmth, class and humor, Francie Little has positioned herself as a top producing real estate agent in Austin. Focusing on luxury and waterfront properties, she attributes her overwhelming success, in part, to a long-term presence in the area, an ongoing involvement in the community and exemplary service to her clients.
We sat down with Francie to find out more about the woman who closed the highest residential sale in Austin MLS history in 2017 and founded the luxury real estate boutique firm, Austin Portfolio Real Estate.
You are one of the founding associates of Austin Portfolio Real Estate. Tell us a little about that journey and experience.
It was a process that took several months. I was part of a group of agents that had been at another luxury boutique brokerage that was closing its doors. Several of us wanted to stay together because we were like a family. We considered opening our own brokerage but then the opportunity came up to merge our vision of the same type office environment we had in our former brokerage with Keller Williams Luxury International and start a new concept foreign to that company. Thus, after hours and hours of meetings and a lot of brainstorming, we opened the first Portfolio office within the KW company, thereby, keeping the small agency culture that we all loved, but availing ourselves of the resources and international reach that KW International could provide. It was a perfect marriage.
Last year, you closed the highest residential sale in Austin MLS history. Can you tell us about the listing, how it happened and what it was like getting to the closing table?
The listing was basically an “in town” ranch since it had around 130 acres but was located in the Westlake area, so it was close to town. My long-time clients had been searching for a property that was close enough to pop in and out without a long commute so they could enjoy the activities that only a ranch can provide on a moments notice. It just so happened that this particular property was owned by some friends of mine so it made the communication process more stream-lined. It still took several weeks to nail down the details of the purchase and conduct thorough due diligence because there are so many facets in the sale of a property of this magnitude. It was really more like a commercial transaction than a residential transaction. Fortunately, I have handled multiple transactions for this client so I know how they work and they know how I work, which makes the process go much smoother than if it had been our first transaction together. It also helped that I have a good relationship with the sellers so they trusted my integrity and that of my client. In addition, the seller’s agent and I worked very well together and always kept the following goal in mind: Keep all the parties happy and engaged!
Explain what makes you an expert on living on the lake and how your Midland connection helps you with people moving to Austin.
First of all, I live on the lake myself. Who better to help people with a waterfront purchase than someone who experiences that lifestyle every day themselves? I love the outdoors, and lake living just adds another element to the picture. It can be peaceful, calming and serene on the one hand and yet it’s active and invigorating on the other! So many levels of lifestyle in one setting. I understand the intricacies of what makes a purchase of a waterfront property different than other properties and what you need to know about it. I know the experts to reach out to if needed, as well.
I have always loved individual sports like skiing, snowboarding, tennis, etc. but my latest lake sport passion is wake surfing. It is such a fun way to get out and enjoy the lake and it’s low impact if you fall! It’s rare to get hurt, which makes it even more fun. I try to go once a week with my girlfriends so not only do I get to enjoy surfing, but I get to have fellowship with my friends, too. I consider it one of the best stress relievers and my job can be very stressful!
As for Midland, as everyone who grew up in Texas knows, Texas roots go deep. Well, that’s especially true of West Texans! We stay connected and in touch. I still get together regularly with my girlfriends that I’ve known since grade school, many of whom live here in Austin. Austin is an attractive place for Midlanders to own property, whether it’s a primary home or second home. My connectedness to my hometown prompts them to reach out to me when looking for a home either here in Austin or in the Highland Lakes area, where I can also help them find a great Lakehouse; but it’s my understanding of where they’re coming from that sets me apart from other Austin agents. I have firsthand knowledge of the type of environment they have been used to and I can relate to the similarities and differences they find between Midland and Austin. Plus, we usually have several friends in common and we all know that people like to do business with people they like!
Tell us about Dancing with the Stars and the charities you’re involved in.
I am associated with, involved in or support several non-profit organizations in Austin including Jr. League, All ATX, Helping Hand Home for Children, Center for Child Protection, Seton Development Board and The Symphony League to name a few. I have chaired a few of the major fund raising events for some of these charities, the most recent being the 2017 and upcoming 2018 Dancing with the Stars Austin event benefiting the Center for Child Protection. I first got involved with the Center when I myself was a celebrity dancer a few years ago. In 2017, we raised a record-breaking amount for the event and I hope to break that record this year! We have some really great local celebrities lined up to dance at the event in December so stay tuned. You won’t want to miss it. Participating in these organizations is my way of giving back to the community and the city that I love and feel so lucky to be a part of. Really, how lucky are we to live in such a vibrant and beautiful place? I enjoy sharing my love of Austin with my clients that are moving here from other cities.
We know you have a passion for travel and live music. What are some of the most exciting places you’ve visited and what are some things you like to do locally?
I love traveling to new and exotic places just as much as I love going to a familiar place in the USA. I can decompress more if I am not at home because I will gravitate to the computer and work even if I’m not meeting with clients. Two of the places that I have travelled to that stick out most in my mind are India and Africa. India was a fascinating place because of the rich history and the cultures. You can read about it, but can’t really absorb it without seeing it firsthand. Africa was magical to me. To go out on safari is an experience that touches you deep down in a way I can’t really explain. The simplicity of just throwing on clothes to go see nature is such a free feeling. And the people are so genuine. Again, it’s something you just can’t explain except by saying I would go back tomorrow if I could!
My husband and I love music. We go to almost every ACL concert and to most of the concerts at Austin 360 Amphitheatre, along with any out-of-town concerts that we can manage to fit into our schedules and other live music venues right here in Austin. I grew up in a musical family; my mother was a voice major at University of Texas who hoped to join the NYC opera. That didn’t happen because she married an oil man and ended up in Midland, Texas but she instilled in all of her children a love for music and gave us all piano lessons when we were little. As a result, we all have different musical talents and abilities, but the core values of music appreciation are equal in all of us. She preferred us to like HER kind of music, but Gary and I love ALL kinds of music and attend live music events as much as possible. We also support musicians through our donations and sponsorships in such organizations as ALL ATX and the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association.
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Austin Portfolio Real Estate is proud to represent clients throughout every Austin neighborhood, including: Downtown, Tarrytown, Westlake, Bryker Woods, Deep Eddy Heights, Old Enfield, Pemberton Heights, The Drag, Belmont, Rosedale, Shoal Creek, Shoal Mont, Highland Park West, Rollingwood Estates, Old West Austin, Red River, West End, Central East Austin, Hyde Park, Travis Heights, Bouldin, Zilker, Barton's Bluff, Allandale, Rosewood, Sunset Valley, Comanche Canyon Ranch, Steiner Ranch