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Newbie moving to Austin(help!)

by Rainbow B. last modified Jul 18, 2011 06:12 PM
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Newbie moving to Austin(help!)

Posted by Rainbow B. at August 26. 2007


I'm new here, and have found great info on here so far. I will be moving to Austin in a little less than a year( I know it is far out, but I'm trying to decide the best plan of action). I grew up in Austin, and just can't seem to be pleased living anywhere else. Been gone 3 years, and can't wait to get back. So here is my question. Me and my boyfriend will have about 175K cash from selling here(virginia), is that anywhere close to enough money to buy or build a modern house in Austin? Our budget is firm, because my boyfriend wants to live mortgage free. However, we would love to have a sleek and modern place to call our own. It's just us two so it wouldn't have to be big. I know it is unlikely with our budget, but thought I would see if anyone here had any suggestions. Thanks so much!

Re: Newbie moving to Austin(help!)

Posted by Alex Wolfe at August 28. 2007
I hate to be a naysayer, but it sounds like a bit of stretch to me. Maybe you could find up inexpensive older apartment and renovate?

Re: Newbie moving to Austin(help!)

Posted by Rainbow B. at August 28. 2007

Yeah, I think we will just have to up the budget. We're young so paying a mortgage is pretty normal. We'll probably search for an older house to renovate. I was just being overly hopeful. Thanks for the comment!

Re: Newbie moving to Austin(help!)

Posted by Ryan Brown at August 29. 2007

Check out my home search page for modern homes for sale in Austin: Modern Home Listings

You may be able to find a small modern loft/condo on the East side for around $200k.

Livable homes in Central Austin generally start around $230k. Sleek and modern homes are a good bit higher. I think your plan to buy an older home and remodel it to your taste is a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck. Here's a relevant post from my blog:

DIY Modern Homes In Austin


Re: Newbie moving to Austin(help!)

Posted by hotho at October 16. 2007

I'd say $175k is a stretch. However, with the current market you can find something in the outlying radius, and use a little (or a lot) of credit on a remodel.

We found a great 'contractor modern' (early 1970's limestone multi level, Brady-style coolness) for $185k in Oak Hill. We have to demo the ugly pink kitchen and horrid crown moulding... But he house is solid- built before nailguns and overworked building inspectors. Older homes have much bigger lots too!


Regarding your move back.. I moved back to Austin after living in NYC for 12 years. It's not the same place it used to be. It was a town, now has the trappings of a big city and all the growing pains that come with it. Traffic, crime and too much over development. I remember seeing greenbelt for miles, that view is now littered with thousands of homes on the hillsides. Don't get me wrong, Austin is wonderful- just don't expect the sleepy, quiet hippie-town it once was.



Re: Newbie moving to Austin(help!)

Posted by Scott Bettersworth at November 06. 2007



I have built several homes in the Austin area, and due to the price of lots, I think building is not an option.

If you want to live morgage free and live IN Austin, then I think your choices are going to be in the northwest area of Austin in the 183/McNeil/Parmer area. You could find a ranch style 3 bed 2 bath in the area and then "atomic ranch" it. There are some cool floor plans there with vaulted ceilings in the living space. I recently located a one story 2200 sq. ft. 4 bed 2 bath with 2 big living areas and have it under contract at $183,000. I have seen some deals for 3,2's in the $160's.

Another area would be east Austin. You can buy a cool condo there in the 850 to 900 sq. ft. range in a the modern open style for around $160K, or you could buy a house that might need a little cosmetic work. The east Austin area is where alot is going on in art, music and home renovations. It is the new "South Austin" if you will.

Im a Realtor, my web site is  Let me know if you want some help. I would advise you to have me or someone set up some well defined searches that will automatically notify you of homes that fit you criterea within the areas that interest you. That way you don't have spend alot of time looking for homes on the net.

Re: Newbie moving to Austin(help!)

Posted by hotho at November 15. 2007

If you are moving to Austin to get away from the sprawl factor, i'd stay away from NW Austin. 183/McNeil/Parmer area has been developed to the gills. ApartmentLand CondoVille to the max. IBM and Dell  are up there and it shows.  More Big Boxes than you can throw a stick at.

South Austin has much more character, a little less traffic, and due to the SOS and Barton Creek watershed, fewer development has encroached. Also more chances to have greenbelt, views, and slightly bigger acreage.

The Capitol View Corridor Study has shown that S and SW has better view corridors too.

Note, All of Austin has it's share of over development, but North of the River is much more compressed and you will be stuck on either 183, I-35, or MoPac for a large portion of your commute.

Lastly, I'll mention crime statistics. Since N Austin grew North first, those cheaper housing units (i.e. Apartmentland) are now 20+ years old and is in severe decline. Crime statistic for those zip codes has skyrocketed.



My .02


Re: Newbie moving to Austin(help!)

Posted by Alana Chandler at June 05. 2008

Agave just began a new all modern, Agave design series. These are still designed by some of Austin's top modern architects, but not as high in price as the Agave architectural series. I think they may be a tad over what you mention...maybe 200k; but might be worth a look.

Agave is an entire neighborhood that is uber modern...

you might just get prequalified and see what you can afford or if there are certain lending programs you are not aware of that could help you afford more (I dont mean an ARM!! Unless you plan to move in 2 years or less!)

Personally I always recommend Gray Buffington but there are lots of good Austin lenders...your realtors can recommend some. I also personally like Robert Shaw; he sold my house when we moved to Agave. In 4 days. He is a 24/7 kinda worker.


Re: Newbie moving to Austin(help!)

Posted by lorraine nishiguchi at June 27. 2008

Even if you do find your dream home in your price range, please be aware of the property taxes.  TX (and WI) have the highest property taxes in the nation.  TX also has the highest title insurance rates in the nation (when buying or selling property).  My house is in Central Austin and my property tax rate is 2.5%, which means that I must set aside approx $500/mo on a house that is appraised in the upper $200,000s.  Also, I'd recommend you find employment in your field BEFORE moving to Austin.  On the surface, Austin may appear prosperous, but the job market is tight and layoffs and hiring freezes abound.  Of course, timing is everything, but alas, opportunities are few.  It's nice to have a dream, but realistic research is key before relocating, which is very costly.

Re: Newbie moving to Austin(help!)

Posted by Kate peters at May 09. 2011

I agree you have to make a research first. That's the very first thing I did when I moved. I moved a lot of times since we are looking for a place wherein we could take advantages of job opportunities and lower cost of living, boston movers seems has done a great job on me.. they really took good care of my properties.I also moved a lot of times since we are looking for a place wherein we could take advantages of job opportunities and lower cost of living, boston movers seems has done a great job on me.. they really took good care of my properties.


Re: Newbie moving to Austin(help!)

Posted by Roy Gatling at July 18. 2011

There are some great suggestions and comments by others.  Austin isn't the lowest cost city in TX to live in, but it's the best :)

Finding a home in your price range will be tough.  Have you considered updating an existing property?  The exterior may not have quite the modern look you want, but you could convert the interior.  Just a thought...

Roy at Make It Mod!

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