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Finding the "Right One."

Dara Allen talks "big picture" real estate

Article by Deborah Hamilton Lynne

Photography by courtesy of Dara Allen Luxury Group

Originally published in East Austin Lifestyle

“There will never be a moment like the one when you walk into a house and you know you are home - you’ve found the right one. It’s an emotional connection that you cannot put a price on.”


What makes Dara Allen one of the top agents in Austin is the way she differentiates between buying a house and buying a home. It's in the personal connection to her clients - be they buyers or sellers- and the way she extends that emotional connection to each property she lists or sells.

 Post-pandemic residential sale prices are through the roof, especially in the in-demand Austin luxury market.  With 184 people moving to Austin a day, finding and buying the right property can be a daunting task.  

Enticed by lower taxes, good weather, choices of good schools, a healthy outdoor lifestyle, and Austin’s independent mind-set, buyers are moving to Austin from high dollar markets such as California and New York. Pleasantly pleased with the amount of dirt and square footage their money will buy they are often baffled by septic systems, wells and propane that some vintage Austin properties include. Boundaries for the many independent districts in the Austin area are sometimes confusing. Allen 's extensive knowledge of Austin’s private and public schools enables her to match the families with the schools, the communities and the commute time that will provide the best quality of life for the entire family.  

With inventory on the low side, Austin is a seller’s market. So what are buyers looking for?

Allen recently sold the Barton Creek home pictured in this article which embodies many of those things that buyers are looking for - a tastefully designed home with interiors that marry Texas stone with European touches, a huge 4,000 square foot exterior patio and living space, a negative edge pool complete with a killer view and additional water features, a beautiful kitchen and extras like the warm wine room. 

Allen elaborated,  “Covid has changed everything.  People are staying close to home and enjoying their homes more. A swimming pool is a must - it is the first thing people expect. Kids can’t go to the parks so expanded playscapes are now part of the landscape. We are seeing more adult play areas as well - pickleball, sport, and tennis courts. People are getting away from the cold, stark modern looks of all whites and grays in favor of warmer tones and more cozy decor. They can’t travel as much so they are bringing Europe and the Mediterranean touches and color palettes back into their homes. Exterior space is a huge asset as people are entertaining at home more often.  Outdoor living rooms and outdoor kitchens are often as spacious and  well equipped as those inside the home.  Beautiful kitchens are always an asset. Proximity to the lake or a golf course and sweeping views are always a draw.”

When you are hoping to find the "right one" it is nice to have an agent who keeps the big picture in mind. Part of Allen’s magic is knowing what it takes to make a house a home.

Having celebrated 22 years in the luxury market, real estate is Dara’s passion and she exhibits an intense knowledge of housing markets, trends, marketing and advertising, schools, new construction, complex financing and interior design. A specialist in many of Austin's most desirable areas, including Westlake, Barton Creek, Seven Oaks, Spanish Oaks, Tarrytown and Pemberton Heights, Dara was the founding agent for Compass in Austin. Appointed by Robert Reffkin, CEO of Compass,  she was the first Sales Manager for the Austin office. In 2020, she transitioned to her current position as Director of Luxury Estates for Texas. Dara lives in Austin with her husband, actor/producer Todd Allen, and their youngest daughter, Shelby.