Selecting a Neighborhood

Know the neighborhoods!

Your first step in finding the right home for you is to discover the neighborhoods you like best.  You may want a neighborhood close to work.  You may desire certain schools if you have children.  You may love water sports and want to be near a lake.  You may be concerned about resale value.  Austin has a lot to offer every home buyer.  Here’s a few tips to help you narrow your search.

  •  Austin has an “inner loop.”  The inner loop is roughly bordered by loop 360 to the west, 183 to the north, IH35 to the east and 71 to the south.  In general, homes purchased in the “inner loop” tend to hold their resale value better even during market downturns.  If you are concerned about resale value, buy in or as close to the “inner loop” as possible.
  • Austin is growing to the east.  The hottest and fastest growing area of Austin is just east of IH35.  Part of this growth is due to our relatively new airport as well as the vacated space by the old airport.  Buyers have also discovered a new “old” part of Austin with wood-floored cottages and a retro neighborhood.  Plus, this entire area is still very close to downtown night life.
  • Want something new?  You probably won’t find it in the “inner loop” unless you are prepared to pay dearly.  Newer homes are found on the outskirts of town and in the suburbs (Round Rock, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Leander, Lake Travis, Oak Hill, Buda, etc.)  Makes sense, doesn’t it?
  • Neighborhood restrictions?  For some unknown reason, the Austin area tends to have neighborhoods that are either highly restricted or hardly restricted.  You will know which neighborhood you are driving in by the number of cars parked on the street or the number of dogs running loose.
  • Dying for a great view?  It’s west of town in the lakes and hill country, unless you would prefer a city view from a downtown loft or condo.
  • Do you love to garden?  Our rocky soil to the west is not great for gardeners or for tall trees.  The richer-soiled, blackland prairie and coastal plains regions are located east and south of town.
  • Acreage?  Be prepared to pay a premium.  Like any other city, Austin has a shortage of land to build on.  If you want a half acre lot or larger, your choices will be limited.  Consider accepting a fixer-upper home in order to get that elbow-room.
  • Need to buy under $200,000?  You need to be willing to go to the outskirts of town as well.  The longer you are willing to drive, the more house you will be able to buy for your $$$.
  • Looking for investments?  Look for Joe Average’s neighborhood.  Joe prefers to rent an average single-family home in an average neighborhood for an average price.   The other renter in Austin is Joe College Student, who needs a place to live near campus.
  • A great way to invest and live in your own home is to buy a duplex, live in one side and rent out the other!

For more great neighborhood selection tips, contact me or call 512-266-2606.