Central Austin Condos
Derek & Chelsea Kotrla

900 Taulbee # 109: North-central Location, Hardwood Floors, and Celebrity Upbringing.

Check out our newest listing at 900 Taulbee # 109! Located in a serene pocket of Crestview, this 2-bedroom / 1.5 bathroom condo has gleaming hardwood floors, a private semi-enclosed back deck, and it’s walking distance (for 10/12 of our months) to Midtown Commons. For the detailed listing including list price, click here.

Check out the 3D tour and floor-plan here, and more pictures below:

 Hardwood floors throughout!

 This semi-enclosed deck looks out to an additional courtyard, which is great for grilling!

 Updated ceiling fans with remote controls, and an expansive built-in storage unit in the master bedroom.

Bonus! A local quasi-celebrity used to live here. From 2000-2015, Chesterfield Kotrla, noted tabby Prince of Darkness and Light, lived in and around this property! His majestic essence glows in the front courtyard to this day.

Being Open: I have Fibromyalgia

Any illness or disability has the potential to completely upend your life. When it’s an ‘invisible illness’ it can be extremely isolating. I have decided to be open and share a difficult part of my life: I have Fibromyalgia.

While it isn’t completely understood (and should be studied more), it is thought that fibromyalgia is caused by the way the brain receives and sends pain signals. Often times there are ‘triggering’ events, or something that a person can look back at as the beginning of their health issues, such as an accident or traumatic injury. For me, it all started after getting my finger caught in a door that was then pulled by a gust of wind that took me with it and broke my wedding ring in the process. The ring was an easy fix, but x-rays, MRIs, and blood tests couldn’t explain the lingering pain that I was experiencing. Everything appeared fine. Months of physical therapy with no improvement led to getting a steroid shot in my elbow (did you know they can put a needle there?!) and then carpal tunnel surgery. That gave me a brief period of relief.

Over time the pain has moved from my hand to my arms, head, foot, back, and is now causing problems like spastic colon and acid reflux. Test after test comes back normal, which is a hallmark of fibromyalgia. There is nothing definitive that a doctor can do to prove you have the condition. A diagnosis is generally made based on your symptoms, and it’s very important to advocate for yourself and be honest about your pain with your physician. Fibro also looks like many other conditions, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, and that makes it even harder to pinpoint and get an actual diagnosis.

This has led to some interesting interactions with medical professionals. Many may be aware of the disorder but do not treat it, while others do not even believe it exists. I have seen a doctor’s eyes glaze over at the mention of fibro, and from then on I could tell he wasn’t listening to a word I was saying. On the other hand, I have seen doctors narrow their eyes and hang on every word, looking for evidence that I’m just addicted to pain killers and asking for a prescription.

The main symptom of fibro is widespread pain, and it includes every type of pain you can think of: sharp pain, dull aches, numbness and tingling in the extremities, shooting pain… you get the picture. The accompanying symptoms can be different from one person to the next, and I have experienced a wide range of those, too. Sometimes I find that I have sensitivities to light or sound and need to find a quiet place to be alone. Odors and scents really get to me; something that smells good one day may make me nauseated the next. Sometimes I have random bouts of nausea that seem to have no cause. IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is another condition that fibro sufferers often have, and I’ve recently had spasms so bad that I ended up in the ER. I have developed food allergies that are so severe I have to carry an EpiPen with me in case I accidentally eat something that causes an anaphylactic reaction. My sense of taste is altered some days, with foods tasting metallic or sometimes like nothing at all. My coordination is out of whack, and I stumble and trip and bump into things. Sleep is difficult because getting comfortable is a near impossible task, and the restlessness aggravates the pain. It’s hard to catch up on sleep once you miss it, and that adds up over time. There are days that I sleep for 11+ hours, and days I’m lucky to get four. Like everything else, it’s very difficult to tell what my body needs in order to function. It is very common that I overdo it one day, only to suffer the next.

One of the most frustrating symptoms for me is what we refer to as ‘brain fog’. People with fibro experience feeling a sense of fogginess in their thoughts and sometimes speech. I find myself having trouble grasping what I read or hear, and I can’t always find the word I’m looking for. Sentences come out garbled and I need help piecing together what I’m trying to say.

All of these symptoms come and go. Sometimes I have multiple problems going on at once, some days it’s just the pain. A good day is when the pain stays around a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. Those days I usually have chunks of time where I feel ok enough to tackle projects, or show homes, or go grocery shopping. The majority of the time I’m hovering between a 4-7 and trying to ‘fake it til I make it’ by smiling and carrying on with my day. Ignoring the pain and other symptoms is impossible, but I try to hold them at bay the best I can and push myself to get through. On the worst days the pain is beyond a 10, to the point that it hurts to blink. Those days are spent in bed lying as still as possible, simply existing.

This post is extremely personal. For some I may be over-sharing, but being open about my health has been one of the most beneficial things I have done for myself. There is an emotional toll that comes with any chronic condition; anxiety, frustration, sadness, and a sense of loss of the person you were before. I’m very fortunate to have family that is beyond supportive, and friends who are understanding and care for me. Some of my friends are facing their own health battles, and sharing in the struggle instead of going it alone makes the journey much less frightening. A chronic condition is one that isn’t going to go away, and that means it will affect you every day for the rest of your life. I plan on sharing more of my story with you. If you or someone you know is struggling with chronic illness, I’m here for you! Sometimes knowing you aren’t alone makes all the difference.


I want to thank Derek for, well, everything. He is kind and caring, and compassionate beyond measure. He is always there for me. It’s hard to find the words to describe how grateful I am for his support and love. We are a team in work, and a team in life. I love you!!


Donate in December-Pug Rescue of Austin

Austin is a pet crazy city, and we love it! Today we are highlighting one of the many animal rescue groups in town, Pug Rescue of Austin!

As the name implies, pugs are the name of the game at Pug Rescue of Austin. Over the course of a year, the rescue may see as many as 150 pugs come through their doors. Some of the rescues come from shelters in various parts of Texas. The group has rescue coordinators who keep in contact with these shelters, and once a pug comes in and is not claimed after a specific period of time, a transport volunteer will assist in getting the pug to PRA. Other pugs are surrendered by their owners for any number of reasons, and some are found strays with conditions that require emergency attention. After they get to PRA, it’s the royal treatment! Often referred to as “The Pug Whisperer”, the group is lucky to have a wonderful co-founder who is also a vet tech. She is able to get the incoming pugs the care they need, and set up a treatment plan to make sure they stay as healthy as possible.

After they are treated and medically cleared, the pugs will go to a foster home with the hopes of finding a forever home through one of the many adoption events held throughout the year. This organization is entirely run by volunteers, from the Board of Directors to foster families. Foster families are provided with everything the pugs need: food, vet bills, and any other necessary supplies. President Alecia Zalot says, “PRA promotes responsible pet ownership in several ways. We thoroughly screen and educate adoption applicants. We increase awareness regarding animal welfare and the unique needs of brachycephalic breeds through weekly adoption and community events. And we distribute educational and community event information through our social media outlets.”

All of this work requires a lot of volunteers! If you are interested in fostering, adopting, or learning how you can help at an upcoming event, contact them through their website. Maybe you have a skill to share such as graphic design, fundraising experience, or social media skills; they can always use help in those departments as well. If you’d like to donate funds to help them continue their important work, the donation page is here. Their annual ‘Let It Snore’ event is coming up on Saturday the 12th, and is a great chance to break out your ‘pugly’ holiday sweater and meet a new companion!


If you love a specific breed or type of pet, chances are there is a local group that specializes in those rescues. Many have websites or social media pages, and most of them could really use your help!

Donate in December-G.E.M.S.

It’s spotlight time for Donate in December, and today we are appreciating G.E.M.S!


G.E.M.S. is Girls Evolving into Maturity Successfully. I recently spoke with the founder, Azena Jones, about the mission of the group. The main focus is helping girls from ages 6-18 grow personally and spiritually. This fantastic organization is helping girls find their voices as individuals, and in the process develop essential skills like decision making and speaking up for themselves that will lead them into a bright future.

Right now, there are two chapters which serve different age groups in different areas. The Manor chapter works with girls ages 6-12, and the Austin chapter is for girls aged 13-18. A third chapter will start up in the Buda/Kyle area in January!

One thing the chapters could use at the moment is donated meeting space in the North Austin area. If you have space, or can get G.E.M.S. in touch with someone who does, contact them through their Facebook page here. Another important way to get involved is by volunteering. The group needs volunteers with a variety of backgrounds to come share their successes and help inspire the girls. Consider sharing your insight and talents!

Donate in December-Helping Hand Home

Today we are putting the spotlight on Helping Hand Home for children!


Helping Hand Home has an extensive history of assisting children who are the most vulnerable and in need of help in our community. Today, the center is able to care for 41 children who have suffered from severe abuse and neglect, and offer them a range of services for healing and personal growth.

The residential treatment services Helping Hand Home provides are crucial for the children who live there. From health services such as medical and dental visits, to therapy and education, the home is a full-service center that meets each child’s individual needs. The Home also places approximately 90 children each year in loving homes, recruits and trains foster families, and facilitates and completes adoptions.

There are ways you can help for the holidays, as well as the rest of the year. Their giving page provides information for ways you can give financially, as well as how you can give of your time. Check out their wish list page for details about donating specifically for the holidays, as well as a list of items that they can use throughout the year. Gift cards are also a great option! No matter how you give, you are helping provide a safe and healthy home for children, and a chance for them to build a bright future.

Donate in December-Caritas

Our next highlighted organization is Caritas, an important source of assistance for those experiencing poverty and homelessness in Austin.


It has been more than 50 years since Caritas began serving the homeless community in Austin. Over 20,000 people every year benefit from the services they provide. Within a year they typically serve 85,000 meals from their community kitchen, and provide another 45,000 meals in groceries give to their clients. About 900 classes are conducted on topics ranging from money management to workforce development, and nearly 500 individuals will be placed in jobs.

Caritas provides a wide array of services to their clients, so there are many ways that you can help year round by donating! For those families and individuals who find housing through the assistance programs, general household items are needed such as kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies, and linens. You can host a food drive to help the Caritas Pantry stay stocked with items such as canned goods and cereal. Check their website here for donation times and a full list of needed items.

Right now there are opportunities to donate to the Home for the Holidays drive. Here are several ways you can make a difference in the lives of Caritas clients this holiday season!



Donate in December-Meals on Wheels and More

12/4: It’s time for our daily spotlight, and today we are looking at Meals on Wheels and More!


Meals on Wheels and More has operated in Austin since the early 70’s, and is now serving 3,000 meals to homebound and disabled individuals every Monday through Friday. Just like their name says, they offer meals and so much more to their clients. Home repairs, grocery shopping, even pet care are just a few of the services they offer which provide the chance to thrive to those members of our community in need.

Beginning on December 7th and running through the 16th, you can “Share the Love” and Stuff a Subaru! Austin Subaru is teaming up with Meals on Wheels to help make life brighter for folks in need this holiday season. You can bring items like new blankets, toiletries, or gift cards to HEB to help someone who is homebound. Volunteers with Meals on Wheels will assemble gift baskets for their clients from the donated items. Last year they were able to make 900 baskets, and this year they are aiming for 1,000! If you’d like to make a donation, you can drop your items off at Central Kitchen, located at 3227 E. 5th St. 78702. There are multiple volunteer opportunities available throughout the year. Check out their website to see how you can get involved!


Donate in December-Art From The Streets

Today’s highlighted organization is Art From The Streets, providing individuals experiencing homelessness with the means to create art.


Three times a week, AFTS holds open studio sessions; anyone who is at risk or currently experiencing homelessness can come to these sessions to paint and draw. This provides so much for those who participate.

The main objective is to give the artists a chance to create works of art, and then sell those pieces. The biggest event that AFTS holds is their annual sale, which is happening this weekend at the Austin Convention Center (details here)! Last year there were nearly 2,000 attendees at the show, and in 10 hours over $100,000 worth of art was sold. That money goes directly to those artists whose work is purchased. For a few, it has been enough to allow them to find permanent housing. For most of the artists, the modest income means they are able to purchase necessities such as food, clothing, or shoes.

But the volunteers say that through the process of creating art, the participants find rewards beyond money. There are personal relationships formed between the artists and volunteers, and between the artists themselves, that are uplifting and encouraging. From an AFTS volunteer, “There is a feeling of pride and self-worth experienced at the annual show, where the usual social hierarchy gets turned on its head, transforming them from faceless homeless people in need of help into the stars of the show.” This is an invaluable experience for both the participants and the Austin community as a whole.

Starting January 5th, you will be able to drop off supplies such as brushes and paints to the Trinity Center at 7th & Trinity. The group is also looking for volunteers for their open sessions. If you are interested, you can email artfromthestreetsvolunteers@gmail.com. To see some of the artists’ work, check out the AFTS website here.

We will be attending the art show on Sunday and you should too! Come find that perfect piece of art to add to your collection, and if you see us say hi!

Donate in December-Mission Accomplished

Our spotlight today is on Mission Accomplished, a social service organization for those experiencing homelessness.


I spoke with the founder, Ebonie Trice, about this group and it is clear that she is an amazing resource for those who are looking to build a stable, healthy life for themselves and their family. One such service Mission Accomplished provides is laundry washing, something many of us probably take for granted. Every other week, Ebonie and volunteers pick up laundry of those in need from designated drop off areas. The volunteers then wash/dry/fold the laundry, and return it fresh and clean. They accept donations of laundry detergent, and are also looking for a laundry facility that will partner with them to occasionally provide machines for free. At this time, there are only enough volunteers to provide the service bi-weekly. With more volunteers it could be offered on a weekly basis.

Currently, Ebonie’s extensive network provides people with resources such as job postings, housing assistance, and much more. In the long-term, she would like to have a physical location where individuals can attend workshops to help build skills like resume writing. The resource center would serve as a space where anyone could come to receive assistance to better their lives.

Please visit the Mission Accomplished website here for more information about their services and how you can help! If you’d like to donate funds to help with the cost of doing laundry, there is a donation page here. Just $5 can provide someone with the comfort of clean clothes!


Donate in December-The Austin Diaper Bank

Our series is starting with the Austin Diaper Bank! For the last two and a half years, this organization has tackled the very vital task of diapering babies and seniors in need in our area.


I spoke with the Founder and President, Beverly Hamilton, about the bank and how they help. We discussed how lacking such a basic necessity can be extremely stressful for a working parent who needs diapers in order to leave a child at daycare, or for a senior citizen who is living on a fixed income. Many people are unaware that diapers are not covered by any type of federal assistance program. That means that those who are most affected by the high cost of diapers must receive help from other organizations.

That’s where Austin Diaper Bank comes in. Their generous donors allow them to distribute diapers to multiple local service agencies, which are then able to get them into the hands of those who need them. According to their website, the bank had taken in over 300,000 diapers as of September!  They can use your help in multiple ways to assist even more people. You can donate diapers, funds, or your time, and know that you will positively affect the life of someone right here in Austin.  Check out their blog for more fun ideas about how to get involved!


Purchasing a UT condo for your student can be a great investment, but…

Purchasing a UT condo for your student can be a great investment, but the stability it creates for them may be worth even more.

With the Fall Semester coming up, we’ve recently had several people ask us about buying a condo near the UT campus for their incoming freshman to live in. Most people are attracted to the potential cost savings (and rightfully so), but there are several other advantages to purchasing near UT instead of leasing:

1) Looking for a place to lease is time consuming, confusing, and generally miserable: most students who lease move yearly. Pre-leasing often occurs in the middle of the Spring Semester, and it can be very stressful on the student. Being a full-time student can be stressful enough; it can make it worse to not know where you’re going to live. Leasing on campus moves fast. The good places go fast. Often times, we find students scrambling around after finals just trying to find something that’s still available for lease.

2) Lease prices are subject to change: Rents have been going up. We have had people contact us and ask for advice because they got a lease renewal notice, and their landlord was trying to raise the rent by $600/month! Unfortunately, there’s not much recourse here, as the landlord can set the rent at whatever he/she thinks they can get. That can mean seriously downgrading the quality and/or location of where the student lives, and often in the middle of their college career.

3) Moving is the worst: I don’t even know which is worse — looking for a new place or moving. If you’re living in a new place every year, that means you have to move at least four times during your tenure. Moving weekend in the campus area is chaos; moving trucks are everywhere (and more expensive than usual), freight elevators are full, your furniture doesn’t fit the same, it’s hot, and moving expenses really add up. If you own, you can relax on moving weekend. Not having to move often also helps you keep friends who own trucks.
We have had several people buy condos on campus for their kid(s) to live in while attending, and they have all been happy with their decision. We know about the different areas, complexes, and amenities for the campus area extremely well. Financing a condo can be very tricky, especially if your real estate agent isn’t familiar with condos. We have excellent resources in the lending field who can assist with getting a loan, and we are condo experts who are well versed in looking for red flags, examining HOA documents, and giving you advice to help you make the best decision for your situation.

About Us

The main thing we strive for is to not be salesy. We like to think that we’re helping you — with our knowledge, experience, and responsiveness –to do what you wanted to do anyway. Most people don’t buy property very often, so the amount of steps involved can be daunting. We both implement a very low-pressure approach, by giving you all of the organized data and we can get, along with tips based on our experience, and letting you think about it and come to your own conclusion. Here is a little bit more about us:
Derek Kotrla grew up in the small town of Liberty Hill (about 30 miles northwest of Austin), graduated from UT Austin, and he’s never left the area. He has always had an active interest in real estate, and he is kind of a database nerd. Sometimes, Chelsea will find him doing different creative searches on the MLS late at night, just to see what he can find. Derek understands the importance of being available to answer client questions and concerns, and he prides himself on getting questions answered as quickly as possible.

Derek has a particular interest in condos in and around downtown Austin, UT condos, and the area from Hyde Park to Crestview. He can help you whether you are looking to buy, sell, or rent.

When he isn’t working with clients, Derek enjoys watching University of Texas football, playing basketball and golf, or trying out new local restaurants with his wife, Chelsea.
Chelsea Kotrla is originally from southern Kentucky. After finishing college at Indiana University, she visited Austin and immediately felt like it was home. The part she enjoys the most about being a Realtor is sharing her love of Austin with others, and she prides herself on having a deep knowledge of the entire Austin area, from Georgetown to Kyle.

In her spare time, you can find Chelsea trying brunch at a new restaurant or ‘keeping it local’ at a farmer’s market with her husband, Derek. She also enjoys going to estate sales, couponing, and watching Food Network.

SOLD Loft for Lease in East Central Austin

1601 E 5th St #214, Austin TX 78702

$2175 month SOLD
2 bedrooms / 1.5 bathrooms
1225 sq ft
Built in 2005
No pets
MLS 7569838 – Virtual Tour

FABULOUS condo just minutes away from downtown Austin!! Sleek modern design with lots of natural light, open floor plan, appliances stay with lease, water and trash PAID by owner, 2 RESERVED parking spots, gated community, courtyard area with picnic table and community grill! Walk, bus, or ride to downtown, restaurants, or several clubs nearby.