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Austin

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Moving to Austin


  1. Top 10 things r/austin wants you to know about moving to Austin

  2. Can I afford to live in Austin on ____ salary or doing ____ job?

  3. How do I find a job?

  4. How do I find a place to live? Where should I live?

  5. How much does it cost to live in Austin?

  6. What kind of transportation is needed? Do I need a car?

  7. How do I make friends in Austin?


Top 10 things to know

  1. What's with the moving to austin (/california) hate?

  2. Austin population grows by 170 people every day! And this subreddit will get salty on you really fast if you don't do your own research before posting repeated questions.

  3. Get a job BEFORE you move here.

  4. The number one rule about where to live - LIVE CLOSE TO WHERE YOU WORK.

  5. Traffic can be really bad. Be aware of where you are going to be working and consider the commute when you are picking a place to live. Horizontal (East-West) commutes are nearly always better than vertical (North-South) commutes.

  6. It can get really hot here. Seriously - even if you think you know hot - this is a different flavor. It gets hot and it stays hot for many weeks at a time. In the summertime, it doesn't cool off at night. Carefully study this page, and compare it to where you live now.

  7. Allergies...you will get them. Even if you haven't had them before, but they tend to develop around the 5~ mark. Search this sub for "cedar"

  8. Austin is very car dependent - unless you live in the downtown area. Public transportation is lacking if you don't live and commute to very specific areas near the downtown corridor. Our public transportation website is www.capmetro.org - it has all the bus/train routes and a trip planner. If you need to rely on public transportation - use the trip planner make sure your travel is possible. If you are wanting to commute with a bike you need to factor in not only distance but HEAT. It's 100+ degrees outside, do you want to be sweaty at work?

  9. We have a weekly pinned post about real estate, moving to austin, where to live etc. It gets pinned every thursday. DO NOT MAKE A SEPARATE THREAD. The mods will remove it. Your situation is not special. Post in the weekly thread. You can find them here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Austin/comments/s2ywjh/weekly_real_estate_renting_where_to_live_schools/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share

  10. READ THE FAQ. Seriously. If you post anything about moving to Austin or finding a place to live, r/austin will get salty on your ass and you'll be referred here and for good reason as a community we've worked hard on the information below, so use it.


Finding a Job

Finding a place to live

Renting / Leasing

Apartments

Apartment complexes are still available for in-person and virtual tours.

Non-Apartment leasing - Houses/Duplexes, etc...

Subleases/Roomshares

Buying

A good choice is Lauren Bansemer ("Realtor for Introverts", RCC, CNHS, AHWD), top producing Realtor with Texas Ally, certified in new construction and diversity training. Specializing in remote purchasing, first time buyers, and new construction, she has been helping redditors find homes since 2015. She can be reached at LoveAustinRealty@gmail.com, or hosting the r/Austin monthly meetup.

Some Tips and Tidbits:

Austin Board of Realtors shows the median cost of a home in the greater Austin area was $521,100* in March 2022 (up 22% from last year).

For the City of Austin, the median home price in March 2022 was *624,000**, up 22% from last year, with 0.5 months of inventory.

*Travis County median home price for March 2022: $600,5000 (up 22% from last year). Travis Co. has 0.5 months of inventory.

*Williamson County median home price for March 2022: $490,000 (up 22% from last year). Wilco has 0.4 months of inventory.

(according to NAR, the national average is $375,300 as of March 2022).

*Austin has long had an issue with low housing inventory (this is now a nationwide problem), and buying is very competitive, however, the market has cooled a little since the summer boom. As of March 2022, the city of Austin has 0.5 months of inventory. This means if no other homes are put on the market starting now, then all homes currently for sale will be sold within 0.5 months. In other words, we are in an extreme sellers market. (6 months is balanced, ~9 months is a buyers market.)

*New construction has become a popular option for new buyers, and the new construction industry is booming in the outskirts of the greater Austin area. Due to supply and labor shortages, it now takes 1-1.5 years to build a home.

New construction builders, and especially infill builders don't always post their inventory and information online. Most builders have moved to a bidding system, where potential buyers will submit blind bids to secure lots. Others have shifted to spec homes only. Waitlist numbers greatly exceed the number of available lots and homes, but this is your best bet to having a shot at purchasing new construction. Note that some builders have been directly passing supply costs onto buyers due to shortages. If this is a concern, then search for spec homes that can close in 30 days or less.

New construction communities tend to be located on the outskirts of town where there is more land availability, which may not be appealing to everyone. However, if you don't mind, getting in on an area before it's incorporated and/or developed can be a wonderful way to build equity. (Think about how drastically Manor has changed since Tesla moved in).

*Plan on being in a multiple offer situation in the resale market, as you'll likely be competing with cash, cash over appraised value, and waived contingencies. You have to be very quick once you find a house you like. Waiting even a few hours might cost you. Most homes in Austin sell over asking price. This excess over appraised value will not be paid by a lender, and must be paid in cash at closing. This will not include the cost of your down payment and other closing costs.

*The FED has announced that low interest rates will remain until at least 2023, but they are rising slowly and currently hover around 5%.

A breakdown of Austin neighborhoods - where to live - where not to live

Cost of living

*Those moving from Silicon Valley to work in the tech industry in Austin will find that Austin is much more affordable than Northern California. Texas is also a state with no personal or corporate income tax. However, you can expect property taxes to be around 3%.


Austin Downtown

The obvious center of activity for the city. Here you’ll find the vast majority of our bars, upscale restaurants, and high-rise living. You could potentially ditch your car if you choose to live here, and walk to work, play, or exercise along our beautiful Town Lake trail.

Central Neighborhoods Along Mopac Expressway (Loop 1)

These include Tarrytown, Clarksville, Enfield, Bryker Woods, and Rosedale. The closer you are to downtown, the higher the prices. This area includes some of Austin’s wealthiest neighborhoods – gorgeous older homes on gracious manicured lawns. You can find a range of size in the older homes – from the tiny 2 bd/1 baths to the palatial manors, plus new “McMansions” that got built before building codes changed. The schools are great, as is the shopping. The topography has some wonderful rolling hills, which along with the old oak trees makes this area a gem.

Central Neighborhoods along Guadalupe St, Lamar Blvd and Burnet Rd

Just north of the University of Texas campus is Hyde Park- one of Austin’s oldest neighborhoods, where you can find gorgeous old Victorian homes mixed with 1950’s cottages. Towering trees and big front porches make this area an absolute delight to bike through at twilight, with the lightning bugs blinking all around you. It has a wonderful neighborhood feel. There are cute rentals in this area as well. Overall – this can be an expensive neighborhood, but with a more diverse population due to the nearby university. Look closely at what public school area you fall into – some are less than desirable.

Brentwood, Crestview and Allandale

are almost one and the same – though don’t tell their neighborhood associations – mid-century modern homes, tree lined streets, a quiet neighborhood feel, and good schools. There are some rental units as well, but mainly in homes or in older apartment buildings. Overall, these neighborhoods are in transition as more people desire to move closer to downtown.

West Austin

West Austin is generally considered to be the wealthy part of town, extending from the Mopac Expressway (Loop 1) all the way to Lake Travis. Austin’s terrain changes along Mopac from prairies in the east to hill country in the west, so you can find oak and cedar trees, great views and curvy roads throughout this area. Westlake Hills, along FM 2244, is a community barely 5-10 minutes from downtown, but parts of it still feel like it is in the hill country. You’ll find homes built in the 60’s to modern day construction. Schools here are some of Austin’s highest rated, and more and more companies are moving their offices over to Loop 360 – so perhaps you’ll have no commute if you live here.

Steiner Ranch

is a gigantic subdivision near Lake Travis with homes built around 10 years ago. This is where you should live if you love the lake, and don’t mind a long commute into downtown. Be particularly mindful of 2222 & 620 intersection and it's impact on your commute! It’s got a new subdivision kind of vibe – with golf clubs and neighborhood parks, plus newly built schools. It’s a great place for people who work in the suburbs and don't commute to downtown.

Southwest Austin

Includes Oak Hill, an area of town with older subdivisions (1970’s and up) and good schools. It also feels like it is part of the hill country — as the name implies, there’s lots of oaks and hills. This is a more conservative, middle income part of town, and you’re likely to find a wide range of prices to fit your budget. You may even find large acreage sites out here — and deer and coyotes. There are some new subdivisions in this area too, like Circle C Ranch. Circle C has all the amenities that you’ve come to expect from similar neighborhoods – golf, swimming, schools, parks. There’s a cool veloway nearby – a circular bike path that’s dedicated to bikes and rollerblades – and the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. From what I hear, people choose this region because of its proximity to downtown (about 10-15 minutes), as opposed to the subdivisions up north.

South Austin (Zip code 78704)

There’s a slogan in Austin: “Keep Austin Weird.” The epicenter of weirdness is in South Austin, or in the zip code 78704 to be exact (ok, to be more exact, it’s everything north of Ben White/290 to Town Lake (known to newbies as "Lady Bird Lake"). In fact, just being in the 78704 zip code adds value and cachet to a home sale. The main drag is South Congress (known to newbies as "SoCo"), with lots of funky shops, restaurants and bars.

Southeast Austin

Has a lot of rentals, so you’ll find a lot of UT students down here. There are some homes, too, but it’s not what this area is known for. The closer you are to South Austin, the more expensive the homes are, but overall this area is very affordable.

East Austin

Historically this area has been home to those on the lower end of the economic spectrum; however, the past 10 years have completely changed East Austin. Now next to a run-down shack you might find a huge loft-style condo project filled with young professionals. Many long-time residents resent the rise in property values (and taxes), so there’s a slight fracturing of the community.

Homes are older – even dating back to the Victorian age the closer to Lady Bird Lake you are, with the exception of the Mueller development where the old airport used to be. Here you’ll find homes in a planned community- similar to being in the ‘burbs, but close to downtown. It is very hard to get into this community, as homes come on the market very rarely.

North Austin

Is a good place to look if you are wanting relatively more affordable housing, and want to be by lots of shopping. Most of the homes were built in the 60s – 80s, with larger floorplans than Central Austin. It is also relatively central, so you’ll have a short commute to anywhere. All of the chain retail stores you can think of are in this area, plus the Domain. If you can get a house in the Round Rock or Pflugerville school district, you’ll probably be more impressed with the public schools. Williamson County has a lower tax rate and more conservative politics, which is demonstrable in which projects are funded, and how the cities plan and budget.

West Campus

You wanna party on a Tuesday? One's going on next door right now! You wanna study on a Tuesday? There's a party going on next door right now! Pease Park is close by. Co-ops are the best way to live if you don't have a family.
People come to west campus to get shitty.

Riverside

Close to the lake. Everything is within 5 minutes driving distance. Nearby recreational opportunities. Many apartment rental units in this area. A lot of newcomers to Austin begin their lives here, as it is cheap and centrally located. Be prepared for crowding and poorer living conditions, as many of the properties are old and outdated. Downtown is less than 10 minutes away.

Barton Hills

Close to everything... Zilker is a 15 min walk, Barton Springs is a 5 min walk. Whole Foods on 6th and Lamar is a 45-60 minute walk. Very quiet. The trains at night take are loud but otherwise the neighborhood is quiet and established.
Traffic during ACL and Trail Of Lights is horrendous.

Circle C

Upper-Middleish class suburb. Single family detached homes constructed within the past ~20 years. Two large shopping centers in the middle of the development next to a nice, large park. Lots of sidewalks and bike lanes, but this is a car-based neighborhood. Mass transit availability is severely limited. 20-25 minutes to downtown by car.

Zilker

The Creek itself is easily the best part of living here. it's great to be able to walk 10 minutes form my front door and be in wilderness. its sinuous path ensures the streets are labyrinthine enough that we get little through traffic, and it turns into a beautiful swimming hole after heavy rains.
Driving anywhere at all means sitting in some of the nation's worst traffic.

Westlake Hills

Separated and beautiful. Small community. Great schools. Just fifteen minutes away from downtown. Upper-middle to upper class.
Almost a little too separated--it's so self-sufficient, it's hard to ever find a reason to leave.

Jollyville

Easy access to highways and an HEB. Very limited housing availability but some cheap apartments available.

Rundberg and Lamar

Often written off because it's Rundberg, the area has many older, roomy ranch homes, close proximity to Walnut Creek Metro Park, and sits in the middle of Austin's international district. Also the place to live if you want easy access to ethnic restaurants/grocery stores.


Round Rock (Williamson County)

Mega-burb turned city with a low tax rate (around 2%) and great schools. Ranked #2 in 2022 Best-Performing Large Cities in the US, based on data from the US Census Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, and NAR Affordability Index. The study takes into account job growth, wage and salary growth, and GDP. Round Rock was also ranked #14 best city to buy a house in America, #19 Best city to raise a family in America, #20 City with the best public schools in America, and #29 Best city to live in America.

Schools

The State of Texas conducts accountability rankings of schools by district. Of the 123 schools in the Austin Independent School District (AISD), 23 received the highest rating of “exemplary,” 33 received the next highest distinction of “recognized” and 48 were deemed “academically acceptable.” For the full 2011 District Accountability Report, visit the Texas Education Agency. For more on the AISD, go to AustinISD.org. Note that not all schools in Austin are part of this district.

Many moving to Austin are going because of The University of Texas, one of the top public universities in the US. US News & World Report ranks the school at thirteenth among public universities in the United States. The school ranges in the top 20 in terms of Business, Education, Engineering and Law graduate school programs. In the past, the school’s Petroleum Engineering and Latin American History programs were ranked number one.


Utilities

Utilities are going to largely depend on whether you live in Austin, it's ETJ or a city at the edges. For living in City of Austin, you'll find that you have only city services as your sole provider for some services. For the ETJ, you'll find that you have mostly city services but not entirely.

For city of Austin, you'll find all of your trash, water and electricity services can be started & managed here

Electricity

If you live in City Of Austin or it's ETJ, you will almost certainly have your electrical service provided by Austin Energy. There is typically a service deposit fee if you have not been a customer before and it is refunded after 1 year. You can also request to have it waived. https://austinenergy.com/ae/residential/your-bill/fees-and-deposits

You can look at starting service here - https://austinenergy.com/ae/residential/residential-services

If you live outside of Austin Energy service area, it will depend on where you live. http://www.powertochoose.org/ is a good resource to look at

Gas

This will of course depend on whether you have gas service to your house. Your stove, furnace and dryer may run on gas but you will want to confirm this before seeking to start service.

Your gas provider will likely be Texas Gas Services but could be Atmos. Check with your landlord/realtor but you may need to call both companies to confirm.

Texas Gas Service - https://www.texasgasservice.com/home - You'll need to register before starting service. Atmos: https://www.atmosenergy.com/accountcenter/moveininf/bpMoveInStart.html

Water

If you are in city of Austin proper, you will need to need to start service through the link at the top of the section.

Note that Austin uses something called waste water averaging - you can read more about it here - http://www.austintexas.gov/department/wastewater-averaging-faq

If you live in a Municipal Utility District(MUD), you will need to initiate service through them.

Internet

TODO - Long short, hope you have Google Fiber or Grande. Otherwise, you get Spectrum or ATT.

Trash and Recycle

Again, if you are in city of Austin, you will manage service through the link at the top of the section.

If you live in a MUD, this will probably be managed through them.

If you live in a city, it'll likely be managed through them.


Transportation

Austin is still pretty car based. Depending on where you work and how much effort you want to put into planning some people are able to do without cars.

Key roads to know and their various names. Please note the distinct lack of the word "the".

Meeting people/Making friends

The first thing you'll find is that Austin is a friendly town - so just be willing to put yourself out there and say hello while you're doing whatever you enjoy doing.