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Buying Your First Home in Austin

Whether you are moving to Austin to begin your career or looking for the perfect school district and neighborhood to raise a family, buying a home is a huge decision. On the positive side, if you are going to establish roots and become a homeowner you could not pick a better city. From 2000 to 2006, this was the nation’s fastest-growing city, which had a positive effect on the real estate market. Before you jump in and start house-hunting though, there are a few things to consider.

 

Overview of the Market
There are thousands of new and resale homes available for purchase in Austin. There are also an abundance of auction, pre-foreclosure, and bank-owned houses, so there is certainly something for everyone. As of November 2013, the average listing is priced at $581,283, which tells you that there is a wide variety of houses available in every price range. Interestingly, in October 2013, the average price was $21,988 lower, which accounts for a 3.9 percent increase.

Austin is separated into a multitude of diverse neighborhoods, and regardless where you live, you can almost always count on there being a grocery store, café, or friendly neighborhood bar nearby. Downtown there are bike lanes on most streets, and for a large city, there are an abundance of parking opportunities.

Recommended Brokers

  • Dwell Realty – Don Powers at Dwell Realty is known for his friendly disposition with clients and aggressive negotiating skills when bidding a home. He has lived in Austin for 20 years and became a licensed REALTOR® in 2002.
  • Homesville Real Estate – Paul Reddam started this small brokerage to give clients a less stressful buying experience. He grew up in Austin, so if anyone knows the area, he does.
  • Barton Hills Mortgage – Suzanne Michaels began her career in the business in 2007, and built her clientele by providing the highest level of customer service.
  • Roots Real Estate – Wendi Anderson is a master negotiator and is not afraid to put in long hours to find a client their dream house. She treats her clients the same whether buying a multimillion dollar mansion or charming starter home.

Recommended Neighborhoods

  • Steiner Ranch – This planned community boasts 20 miles of hiking trails, three pools, and access to Lake Austin. Living here feels like you are on vacation every day. Median home price is $495K.
  • North Burnet – Here is a neighborhood for the movers and shakers. Average listing is $264K, but there are plenty of apartments here, too. It is a fairly walkable neighborhood, but does not have many bike lanes.
  • Windsor Park – This neighborhood is only 6 miles from downtown Austin, and has a beautiful 57-acre park with splash pad, pool, and disco golf course. You can find affordable housing and apartments, and the average home listed is around $268K.
  • Dittmar Crossing – Houses average $190K here, but there are a lot of very affordable homes to be found. This is a wonderful, affordable area, with a strong sense of community.

Do also consider Downtown, West Oak Hill, South River City, Bee Cliffs, and Austin Lake Estates.

Weather
If you are moving to Austin from a northern area, it may take a while to get used to the heat. It is hot, but most find it comfortable after a while. You do not want to be carrying boxes in the summer heat if you are not used to the weather though. Do yourself a favor and hire movers.

The city has a humid subtropical climate with mild winters and hot summers. It is almost always at least a little sunny, as you will enjoy an average of 2,650 hours of annual sunshine. About every two years the city experiences a random ice storm that thaws out rather quickly. Snowfall is quite rare.