Moving to Austin: Housing Guide

We naturally meet lots of people moving to Austin who are at different stages in their decision making process. Very often, we hear questions like "Where are the best neighborhoods?" or "Where are the best schools?" The answer is "Austin has a lot of great options!" but it really depends on where you decide to live. Here's a handy guide to help you approach your housing search.

Step 1

Do you plan to buy, rent a house, or rent an apartment?

  • Buy

    If you plan to buy your new home, you’ll want to work with a real estate agent who specializes in purchases. You can search through many different databases on your own, but it’s best to have a great agent set up searches for you after you’ve talked with them about location, budget, home size, schools, and any other needs.

  • Rent a House

    Houses are generally owned by private individuals (as opposed to apartments owned by corporations) and you can access these options on sites like Zillow, or the Austin Board of REALTORs search portal. A real estate agent who specializes in leases is a great resource for you and can save you a lot of time. (We don't provide leasing services but we can send you great referrals!)

  • Rent an Apartment

    If you plan to rent an apartment, you’ll want to work with an awesome apartment locator. There aren’t any great, publicly accessible databases for you to search (which is very frustrating!) To make things more complicated, apartment pricing changes all the time and the same floorplan in the same complex can have different prices. A locator can help you navigate this and will usually have an internal database of options they can send you. (We don't provid apartment locating services, but we can send you a great referral!)

Step 2

What's your budget?

You’ll usually start with a budget range in mind and you’ll look at your options within that range. Rental properties (apartments or houses, duplexes, etc) will generally want you to make 3-3.5X the rental amount to qualify. If you plan to purchase, then you’ll want to convert different purchase prices into down payments and monthly payments. A great mortgage broker can help you here.

Step 3

Where do you want to live?

Most of the time, you’ll want to be within a certain distance of work, a certain school (or schools), or some other point of interest (maybe you’re super into hiking, kayaking, or something else interesting.) You can usually convert your ideal commute (No more than XX minutes!) into a distance.

Step 4

What do you need in a home?

You’ll want to establish how large of a home you’ll need (square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms) as well as the year built you’d like. Special needs like 1 vs 2-story, 2 vs 3-car garage, etc are important to establish. If you’d like any special amenities (like a neighborhood pool) it’s great to note that. If you have school age children (or plan to) then the quality of schools will likely narrow down your search.

Step 5

Set up your searches!

If you’re already working with an agent or a locator, just relay this information and they’ll get everything set up for you. If you aren’t yet working with someone, this is a great point in the process to engage with an agent who specializes in purchasing, rentals, or apartments.

Step 6

Get some feedback!

After you’ve seen your search results, you’ll want to get feedback from friends, family, and this community on each area where you have options!

Step 7

Get out and find your new home!

Now that you’ve established your searches, your options, and you have feedback, it’s time to confidently buy or sign a lease. Let’s hit (or keep hitting) the ground running!

Are you considering buying or selling in the Austin area? We'd love to help!

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Buyer Resources
First Time Home Buyers CLICK HERE
Relocating To Austin? CLICK HERE

2100+ Client reviews!

Bramlett Residential, and more importantly Joe Gage were amazing at helping my wife and I buy our very first home. Bramlett & Joe made the whole process stress free, and really helped expedite the process for us. We had no idea we would find exactly what we were looking for so quickly! Joe was very knowledgable on numerous things such as market strategy, what things to look for while touring homes, and he quickly understood exactly what type of home my wife and I were looking for. He was also in constant communication with us throughout the whole process which helped us feel very comfortable in a situation that could have been stressful. I will confidently recommend Bramlett & Joe Gage to anyone in the Austin area going forward!

 

We worked with Crystal Hirst and she did an amazing job. She went above and beyond to make sure that we found the right property for us. Our search initially was all over the place and we didn’t even know what kind of property we wanted. Nonetheless, Crystal was incredibly helpful and patient while working with us to find our home. Crystal would point out all the pros and cons for any place that we would consider and we felt we could trust her. As first-time homebuyers we felt this was important because we did not know what red flags to look for in a property. Additionally, she was communicative and extremely responsive throughout the entire process. We were very satisfied with Crystal and would recommend her to anyone with no reservations whatsoever.

 

It was a pleasure working with Shaun, he is a very pro-active person and move things fast, communication was assertive and clear. As a first time buyer I could not have been in better hands and would recommend him a hundred percent.

 

Jan was wonderful to work with!  Bringing a toddler while house-hunting can be a nightmare, but Jan made it fun for all of us.  It felt more like exploring the area with family.  We didn’t feel any rush or pressure to buy, and we knew Jan had our best interests in mind.  She was always friendly, but when it came time to negotiate, she fought hard to get us the best deal.  I would highly recommend working with Jan whether you are buying or selling.  If we ever move, we’ll definitely be asking for Jan again.

Jan is fantastic!  We moved from out of town, and she was great about showing us around and researching schools and home-builders for us so we could make the right choice.  Jan showed us both rentals and new builds in a rainy, single-day house-hunting trip, and, despite the weather, her enthusiasm never wavered.  We have been in Leander for two years now, and Jan still keeps in touch and serves as a source for local info!  If we ever move again, she’ll be our first call!

Because we were first-time home-buyers, Jan was the wind beneath our wings while we worked with her.  She listened to what we wanted and made sure that we weren’t getting into something that would damage us in the long run.  She was passionate, caring, and very knowledgeable.  We were from out of town, and she taught us a lot about the area and gave us some insider knowledge that helped lead us to a great home.  She gave us advice for the future when we might become serious about homes, and she prepared us not just for purchasing our home but also for potentially reselling it years down the line.  Working with Jan was easy and enjoyable; she was on our side from day one.  She went above and beyond my wildest expectations and really raised the bar for realtors in my eyes.

Jan Daum is a realtor with panache!!!  When you sign up with her to sell your house, you can rest assured she will get it done fast, at the best possible price, and with all the tools in her toolbox put to use.  I’d no sooner signed on the dotted line than Jan showed up with a stager and a photographer.  My home went online with a very classy display and sold over asking in less than a week, and with multiple offers!  Jan did not even get a chance to hold the planned open house.  Jan was with me every step of the way and kept in touch constantly.  I would recommend Jan Daum as a realtor for any property and at any price point.  You will not be disappointed with the service or the results.

Corrine was a dream to work with. She kept us up to date and was transparent with us through our house hunting experience. She connected us with great people to work with to get our place to close quick and easy. Will definitely recommend her and was a great pleasure working with!

 

We had the pleasure of working with Elken Miller and we loved our experience working with her. She is knowledgeable in her filed and will give you her honest opinion and she held our hand the entire process and we bought in 2021 which was a very competitive market at the time and she was absolutely awesome in helping us secure the house we wanted!
She is warm and always returns your calls and is on top of things you may not have even thought of. I highly recommend Elken Miller!

 

I started working with Elken summer of 2020. I had just moved to Austin and had no idea where to start looking given my tight budget and all the bidding wars happening. Elken helped me navigate that process every step of the way with ease. She was able to find me a new built in Elgin that fit perfectly with my needs. She is incredibly knowledgeable in the housing market, has great business acumen and is very resourceful. Elken also assisted me in negotiating with builder, lenders, and third parties (e.g. alternative “buy before you sell” type of lender, etc.) and did not stop until I got a great deal. In addition, she is thorough and proactive ensuring that all your questions are answered and that your expectations are met. Lastly, she is friendly and kind and never ceased to go above and beyond for me during my home buying journey. I will absolutely work with Elken again whenever I am ready to find a new place.

 

We enjoyed working with Elken at Bramlett Residential Real Estate for buying our first home. She’s detail oriented, help us address concerns, and always willing to answer questions that we have along the way. Highly recommended and we would definitely work with Elken again when an opportunity comes in the future.

 

As first time home buyers and new to the area, Elken Miller was a true blessing. Elken went above and beyond to search for a perfect home for our growing family, before the baby’s arrival. She listened to our needs, wants and stayed within our budget. She walked us through each step and treated us like family. We are now first time home buyers of a brand new build, in a beautiful area with a large backyard where we can create memories with our baby! Elken is professional, knowledgeable, caring and will not give up on what you’re searching for until she finds it. She’s the best and we truly thank her for everything.