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

2300+ Client reviews!

Tammy was so helpful during our home buying process. We really appreciated how invested she was in us finding our first home. Would definitely recommend!

Selling our house with Bramlett Residential was a great experience. Our realtor, Craig, was not only patient and thoughtful but also an expert in our neighborhood. Throughout the process, he served as our advocate, ensuring we felt confident and supported every step of the way. Craig was a true professional, prioritizing our needs and concerns. He and the team took a lot of the stress out of the process.. I wholeheartedly recommend Bramlett Residential to anyone looking to buy or sell a home.

Bramlett Residential Real Estate group was great! Our realtor, Simon Vand was super helpful and made our first home buying experience a lot of fun. We are thankful we had such a friendly agent and strongly recommend using him in the future!

Becky Welch is an excellent realtor and a joy to work with! She was super organized and helpful, guiding us through the process of finding and buying a home while minimizing our stress. She took the time to understand what we hoped to find and sent us regular email updates on new listings that met our criteria to help narrow our focus. She sent us expert video walk-throughs of homes we liked online to save us time, and was patient as we searched for months to find that “needle in the haystack” that met our unique needs. She ran detailed comp analysis on homes we liked, which helped us find a good investment that appraised above our purchase price. Once we made the offer, she expertly negotiated the contract terms and post-inspection amendments based on our input and provided solid advice, follow-ups & reminders from contract to post-closing. Becky’s referrals for a great home inspector and handyman/contractor were much appreciated. She even arranged foe one of her favorite roofers to make minor repairs at no charge, as she helped us estimate repair costs identified in the inspection. Becky went above & beyond to make buying our home as easy and painless as possible, interfacing with the title company, lender and selling agent to help keep our closing on track. Becky’s extensive Austin market knowledge and contacts, her strong work ethic and her calm and friendly demeanor make her the perfect partner to help buy a home! She guided us through an epic search to find the right home in the right neighborhood at the right price, and I’m now blessed to call her a friend!

Our experience working with Barrett was nothing less than amazing. He first came on our radar when he sold a house on our street before it hit the market. When it came time to sell our house, Barrett came prepared with market analysis data and confidence that he would sell our house quickly at a strong price point. Barrett was not pushy and
always gave us the necessary data to make informed decisions. His recommendations on painters, handymen, landscapers, stagers, and photographers were all a pleasure to work with and truly got our house looking its best. We received multiple offers within the first few weeks, and Barrett helped immensely throughout the process to ensure
everything went smoothly. And it did. Thank you, Barrett! It was then a no-brainer to work with Barrett on our new home purchase. Again, Barrett worked within the parameters we gave him. Originally, we thought that central Austin would no longer be an option with our growing family. Barrett was able to locate a new construction home in
Tarrytown that met our needs and then was able to negotiate to stay within our budget. We couldn’t be happier about our new home. Barrett was fantastic to work with both selling and buying. Highly recommended.

Barrett did a great job for us in many ways. His knowledge of the area (west, southwest Austin) was very helpful to us as we wanted to locate near our children and near a golf club. He advised us on clubs (he is uniquely qualified to do that!) and helped us identify the neighborhoods we were interested in. He worked tirelessly to show us houses and
was always helpful and knowledgeable. Most importantly, he spotted the house we bought before it hit the market and alerted us immediately. We couldn’t ask for more from a Realtor. He was a pleasure to work with. We felt he was a straight shooter and a good listener. We would definitely recommend him to friends.

If I was going to sum up my experience with Barrett in one word, it would be ‘Professional.’ I personally think this is the best compliment you can give to someone for their job. Barrett was always available and responded to every call or text very timely, and even if he didn’t have the answer immediately and needed to rely on others for the
answers, he would set expectations on when I could expect an answer and eventually provide the answer needed. This was our first home buying process, and both my fiance and I felt comfortable with Barrett throughout the entire process. During every walkthrough we had, he did a great job of answering any questions we had and was
careful not to force his opinions on the house unless we specifically asked for his opinion. He let us know what to expect during each step of the process and made sure we felt comfortable, and never made us feel rushed. I really can’t say enough about my experience with Barrett, and I am grateful for having worked with him. I would absolutely
recommend Barrett to anyone and plan on working with him again in the future.

We, honestly, cannot say enough about Barrett. Knowing he had experience with relocation companies, and his superb knowledge of our neighborhood is what sold us on him. He answered every call, text, and email professionally and on time. This was our first time working with a relocation company, and Barrett took the time to explain
and guide us through the entire process. It is so important to have a good working relationship with your Realtor, and we feel very fortunate to have worked with him. We can only hope to find someone close to Barrett in Washington State when we decide to buy here.

My experience with Barrett Sandefur has been absolutely amazing! Barrett’s knowledge of current market conditions, housing trends, and the best way to navigate the home buying process in the ever-changing Austin marketplace was invaluable. Being a first-time home buyer made for a high-stress situation, but with the help of Barrett, everything came together seamlessly. Having a great realtor can make a world of difference when looking for your home, and I can not think of a better person to have walked me through this process. From taking me to countless house showings, answering many questions and phone calls, to helping me secure my perfect first home,
Barrett consistently made my home buying process run smoothly. Thanks, Barrett, for being my realtor of choice!

I have worked with Barrett Sandefur on three properties, both as the buyer and the seller. It is by far the best experience I have ever had with an agent. He is always on top of everything, communicates well, and makes the process easy. I recommend him to anyone looking to buy or sell a home in Austin.

I had a great experience working with Barrett. I found him to be very proactive and knowledgeable. His proactivity was key, both in terms of finding a great opportunity before it hit the market, but also by reaching out with helpful info or check-ins as we moved from offer to closing. His market knowledge was very helpful, both in terms of helping me understand the neighborhood and opportunity, but also talking through potential improvements to the house and what they could net me in terms of an estimated value and rents.

I must say, working with Barrett was an awesome experience. I had very specific goals in mind and he understood that very well. He guided me at every step of the way, from finding the right property to closing it. I being remote in California was very skeptical about the whole remote buying process. I was constantly testing him on various
aspects of the buying process and I am glad to say that he has earned my trust with his knowledge and patience! Super responsive and super approachable. He found me exactly what I was looking for. Having worked with various other realtors, I think I can safely say that working with Barrett was the best experience for me overall. I have
already referred him to a lot of my friends.

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