Guide to Buying a Home in Austin, Texas

, Mar 2, 2022

In the background, a smiling couple embraces, holding the key to their new house toward the foreground.

The decision to buy a home is not usually made on the spur of the moment. It takes a lot of thought and proper planning. While moving to Austin, Texas, may be the right move for you, the way you go about finding and buying your new home can make all the difference.

Recently, there has been a surge in the number of people accessing the Austin, Texas housing market to buy a house. According to the Austin Board of Realtors, the number of homes sold in Austin increased 84% between 2010 and 2019, while the price of housing increased by $160,000 from January 2020 to January 2021. This surge of people moving to Austin has been caused by the city’s certain favorable factors such as the lower cost of living and tax burden as well as job growth as opposed to other options.

While looking for information on Austin’s housing market to make an informed decision, we know you will be bombarded with more information than you need or understand. This is why we have prepared this article for you, to provide you with the necessary information to consider before you search for and buy a house in Austin, Texas.

Choose a Real Estate Agent You Connect With

Your choice of a real estate agent will determine how well your search will go, so choosing the best should be a priority. It will save you time and energy while ensuring you find the home that best suits your likes and budget.

Of course, you are the one who gets to determine who the “best real estate agent” is to you. You can achieve this by choosing someone with whom you connect and communicate effectively. A great real estate agent will have your best interests at heart and is passionate about the process of finding a perfect home for their client.

Consider the Suburbs

When looking to buy a house in Austin, it is often smart to consider buying in the suburbs rather than the city. Suburbs are places on the outskirts of the city and are within commuting distance, though a major area like Southwest Austin offers its own hub of restaurants and things to do.

While many places are easy to travel to and job availability is higher in urban areas, getting a house in the suburbs of Austin rather than within the city has its perks. Suburbs boast a cheaper cost of living and housing, more security, and less crowding than you would expect in the city. They also give you easier access to the attractions outside the city, like Lake Austin and Lake Travis park.

If you are actively considering searching for houses in the suburbs of Austin, here’s a list of some of the best.

  • Round Rock;
  • Cedar Park;
  • The Hills;
  • Lakeway;
  • Huto;
  • Leander;
  • Pflugerville;
  • Buda;
  • Rollingwood;
  • Bee Cave;

Know Your Mortgage Options

If you do not have enough personal funds to finance your purchase, then you should start your research on mortgage options early.

By shopping around for a mortgage loan between 3-5 lenders, you will be able to compare the rates and choose which best suits your interests. Also, you will not be taken advantage of by dishonest loan providers. Once you have learned about your mortgage options, you will be able to choose the best one which will suit your needs and preference.

Set a Budget

Starting the search for a house without setting a budget can lead to a failed search or a purchase that is well above what you can spare. When creating a budget, the rule of thumb is to make sure your mortgage is not more than 28% of your monthly gross income. Be realistic about your budget and determine:

  • How much you can save for your down payment.
  • How much you can set aside for the expenses to recreate and maintain your ideal home.
  • How much you can spend on home-related costs — moving expenses, lawn care, remodels, and repairs.

Knowing the amount you can spend on the above will help you set an achievable budget for buying a new house.

Visit Neighborhoods Ahead of Time

When looking to buy a house in Austin, Texas, you should first travel to the surrounding neighborhoods before purchasing. We understand that it is not always possible to do so but, by visiting ahead of time, you can grasp the distance to shops, businesses, local street markets, and even schools. You can also get a feel for whether the lifestyle there suits you and the neighborhoods feel safe.

If you cannot examine the area yourself, you can ask your real estate agent, and perhaps research the area on the internet. Without a proper evaluation of the neighborhoods before buying a house, you might wind up disappointed and unable to rectify what you would then call a bad purchase.

Ensure There Are Activities of Interest to You

Buying a home in Austin, Texas often means you plan to settle in the area where you purchased the house. During your research, make sure that the neighborhood you are buying in has interesting activities. You should look at places such as parks, restaurants, tourist attractions, and places where things you fancy are displayed or performed. This is so that you can see whether they are accessible from your new home. Here are some activities you can indulge in while in the Austin area.

  • Visit waterfalls.
  • Paddle a boat on the lakes.
  • Tour the Texas State Capitol.
  • Visit Texas Hill Country Distilleries.
  • Jog or ride the boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake.
  • Visit Lake Travis and enjoy the great restaurants in the area.

Familiarize Yourself with Austin, Texas Before You Move

It is important to familiarize yourself with the entirety of Austin, Texas before your move. If you are moving from a place that is entirely different from Austin, it will help you to know a bit more about their climate, politics, environment, and in general, the overall vibe of the city.

Work out what you like about the city, and where you’d like to spend your downtime. By performing your research and familiarizing yourself, you will make a better choice on which area to move to. You will also find it easier to fall into a routine that works best for you and make new friends with whom you can build a great life.

Austin, Texas is a great place to be for many people. It is one of the safest cities in the U.S., with a highly educated workforce, multiple opportunities, and a welcoming community. Be sure you are ready and well prepared for life in Austin before buying a house and moving to the city.

About the Author

Last updated: 03/22/2023

2300+ Client reviews!

Sally was referred to me via a business network when I first moved to Austin in 2022. She helped me understand the area, evaluate my options, and find the perfect spot in a tough market. Sally has been a joy to work with because she creates partnerships + friendships with her clients!

I was impressed by Sally’s expertise in selling both my investment property and my primary residence, and in helping us buy our dream home. At our initial meeting, we found Sally knew the real estate market, but found even more impressive her emotional quotient in understanding and navigating the differences between my partner’s and my very different personalities. For my investment property, she timed the showings and sale perfectly and created a helpful Excel spreadsheet comparing the many offers. She was also savvy enough to suggest we pay the tenants a fair amount of money to make the property available for viewing from 9am – 5pm on the first weekend to make it as easy as possible for potential buyers to get through, and we let her deal directly with the tenants because we could tell her people skills would serve us well

We got multiple offers by the deadline on Monday afternoon with one outlier that was $150K higher than what we had unsuccessfully listed the property for (with a different realtor) a year earlier!

When it came to selling my primary home, Sally’s expertise in the luxury market, and in historic homes in particular, truly shone. She understood that selling a high-end property, with various restrictions, required a different approach. Sally crafted a listing for the home that perfectly captured its unique character and premier location. Her marketing strategy was well timed and appropriate for the more limited market, attracting the right buyer pool and creating a sense of exclusivity around the property. She suggested listing it on the private market for a week or two before sending a message that it would be listed on the MLS. She organized private showings that allowed buyers to experience the warmth and charm of the home and the neighborhood, which I believe was instrumental in securing a sale.

The pricing and marketing strategy Sally recommended was spot-on, and we sold the home at a price that far exceeded our expectations. Sally helped thread the needle perfectly.

Sally is also accessible. We found more well-known realtors would respond to our email days later, whereas she was always available right away to answer my questions, and provided us with regular updates, making sure every detail was handled with care. Selling a high-end property can be a stressful experience with fewer potential buyers and some downtime inherent in waiting for the right buyer, but Sally made it a smooth and surprisingly easy process encouraging us to be patient while giving us enough information on what was happening to satisfy both me and my partner. In the end, we were thrilled with the results

Sally’s rep of us as sellers could not have been more professional, but her work repping us as buyers is the most memorable. We were trying to be our dream home in an overheated market, and Sally gave us advice that at each turn proved invaluable. She recommended offering just the right amount above the offer price for us to make it to the next round of offers. She handled a very difficult appraisal process by advising us on financing sources, even offering to help us put down a higher amount by loaning us money herself! We were able to finance the home without taking her up on that offer, but how many realtors make that kind of offer to their clients? In the end, we closed on the house ontime and ended up with the home of our dreams, thanks to Sally’s world-class advice and service.

We cannot say enough good things about Sally’s technical knowledge, people skills, and responsiveness. You won’t find a better realtor in Austin.

I have lived here in Austin for more twenty-five years, and have bought and sold several homes and rented others during those years. I have worked with five realtors during that time. SALLY IS BY FAR THE BEST OF ANY IN TOWN. Her work ethic is simply unmatched. She hides her competitive streak underneath a layer of Austin hip and friendly, but she will absolutely get you the best home, the best deal, and stop at NOTHING to get your home sold as well!

Sally loves real estate. She has a genuine passion for Austin, too, and for her client’s well-being. She took time to understand my needs and was always available to answer any questions and provide me with honest and insightful advice.

We toured many homes in Barton Hills and settled on a great home that was hotly contested by builders and homeowners. Sally understood how we could be the preferred buyer without getting into a bidding war. She knew the motivations of the Seller and we maneuvered and negotiated the contract and secured my dream home.

Furthermore, at the 11th hour, the day before we were set to close, our lender said we needed to put a fence around the pool before they would release the funds. The seller was not inclined to extend the closing again. We were out of town. Sally saved the day by racing to Home Depot and getting the largest tarpaulin available and then securing it over the pool at the house. Sent pics to the lender and we were set to close.

In short, Sally will work harder and smarter than anyone. She’s simply the best.

Sally is incredible! She spent nearly 2 years with us – understanding our very specific preferences and needs – to help us find our dream home. She was the first agent to reach out when the home was listed and negotiated the contract astutely so that we secured the home. The home was only in the framed stage, still had a few months until completion. Once it was completed, however, our plans had changed and we needed to get out of the contract. We were expecting to have to relinquish our very considerable deposit. But Sally spent the entire weekend working on a way to get us out of the contract AND get our deposit back. Everyone we have spoken to about this extraordinary outcome has been surprised that Sally managed to get our deposit back for us. Thank you Sally, we can’t recommend her highly enough.

Sally is reliable, diligent in her research, prompt on exchanges, creative in deal making, and has a tremendous work ethic. She is the sole reason we were able to close on our primary residence, which has been our dream home and a fantastic investment. From there, we’ve gone on to close on multiple rental property purchases in Austin together. Thanks to her astute analysis, we’ve passed on many deals as well, which has proven just as valuable. I cannot recommend her highly enough.

I highly recommend Kiel if you’re looking to rent a place in Austin. We originally met him to look around a particular unit, and when it was not to our satisfaction, he was able to quickly take us around many more units that day. He also set up a whole day of viewings for the very next day! Within 48 hours we had done enough viewings to be confident in choosing a new home. The landlord accepted our offer and Kiel handled all of the paperwork, even stopping by our hotel to pick up the needed checks. We couldn’t be happier.
Kiel is highly organized and unlike some realtors in the Austin area, he is responsive and ready to move quickly. We were always able to contact him and never left waiting.

Kiel has your BACK!! We are so grateful to have had his guidance and knowledge while navigating the intense, frustrating and way competitive Austin rental market. He quickly picked up on our taste and designed a game plan to help us push through the clutter and get to the properties that best suited us. He was ALWAYS available to us and answered our emails, calls and texts with great speed. We’re so grateful to have had him on our search team. Because my goodness, it really is a crazy market out there!

Kiel was amazing to work with! He walked us through everything, explained anything we didn’t understand, and he is is just a great guy to work with. As a first time home buyer, his knowledge was invaluable. 10/10 would recommend!

Kiel was referred to me by a friend, and we were so pleased with his services. He jumped in and guided us through the entire process, made himself readily available for us during the whole process, checked in with us via text every step of the way, and provided any and all information we requested. As a first time home buyer, I was not totally familiar with the process. Kiel helped me through the lending process, walk through inspection and closing procedures. It was such a pleasure to work with him, and we look forward to hiring him again when we purchase our next property.

I’ve never met anyone as knowledgeable and hard working as Kiel. Everything he said he was going to do, he did it. Kiel is a very easy person to get along with. He made us comfortable with the process and also made it fun. In 5 words…HE GETS THE JOB DONE!

It was great working with Kiel. He understood what we really wanted in a home. When it came to the process of the contract, it was obvious how knowledgeable he was. He did exactly what we wanted while giving great advice.

We had the pleasure of working with Will Mackintosh as our agent, and couldn’t be happier with the experience. From start to finish, the process was incredibly smooth and easy, thanks to Will’s expertise and professionalism. He guided us every step of the way making what could have been a stressful experience surprisingly enjoyable. Will’s attention to detail and dedication to finding the perfect property for us truly stood out. We couldn’t have asked for a better agent. I highly recommend Will and Bramlett Residential to anyone buying or selling a home in the Austin area.

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