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