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Old 12-14-2011, 09:52 PM
 
Location: Northeast
5 posts, read 3,804 times
Reputation: 10
Question How to House Hunt?

Hello, we are a young couple, planning to move to Austin or its neighborhoods. We are looking to rent a house. This is our first time looking at houses, and our first time in the South. Although we have been looking at many resources, we are not confident about how to look for a house.

About Us:
- We are in our late twenties, not planning to have kids yet.
- We are East Asian (not Indian or Vietnamese) and Jewish.
- We both work from home.

House Priorities (A smaller number is more important):
1. Monthly rent is less than $1300.
2. No carpet.
3. Safety.*
4. Backyard for a vegetable garden.
5. Community of young professionals, rather than families with kids.
5. 700 sq ft - 1500 sq ft. We do not want to pay a lot in utilities during the summer.

* I understand that a word 'safe' is relative. After looking at https://www.crimereports.com I was very surprised about the number of property crimes and sexual offenders in Austin. Is their map consistent with your feelings as a resident?

Resources looked up:
- City-Data
- Craigslist
- Greenlight Locating
- Rent.com
- Trulia
- Zillow

Questions:
1. Which neighborhoods do you recommend for us?
2. Any good websites or other resources to find houses around Austin?
3. When we visit a house, what should we look for and what should we ask?

It has been a very moderate winter for us, how is Austin?
I hope that you have a nice holiday. Thank you for reading
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:54 PM
 
3,983 posts, read 5,973,348 times
Reputation: 1584
Quote:
Originally Posted by leia84 View Post
Hello, we are a young couple, planning to move to Austin or its neighborhoods. We are looking to rent a house. This is our first time looking at houses, and our first time in the South. Although we have been looking at many resources, we are not confident about how to look for a house.

About Us:
- We are in our late twenties, not planning to have kids yet.
- We are East Asian (not Indian or Vietnamese) and Jewish.
- We both work from home.

House Priorities (A smaller number is more important):
1. Monthly rent is less than $1300.
2. No carpet.
3. Safety.*
4. Backyard for a vegetable garden.
5. Community of young professionals, rather than families with kids.
5. 700 sq ft - 1500 sq ft. We do not want to pay a lot in utilities during the summer.

* I understand that a word 'safe' is relative. After looking at https://www.crimereports.com I was very surprised about the number of property crimes and sexual offenders in Austin. Is their map consistent with your feelings as a resident?

Resources looked up:
- City-Data
- Craigslist
- Greenlight Locating
- Rent.com
- Trulia
- Zillow

Questions:
1. Which neighborhoods do you recommend for us?
2. Any good websites or other resources to find houses around Austin?
3. When we visit a house, what should we look for and what should we ask?

It has been a very moderate winter for us, how is Austin?
I hope that you have a nice holiday. Thank you for reading
You probably should mention what kind of things you do for fun. Your housing request matches a lot. What kind of vibe do you want?

Most of the central areas will be older construction and so utilities will be higher. How high is too high? We pay about 300/month (water,power, garbage,gas) in 100 degrees in our 2800 sq ft 2001 house. In the winter it is probably about $75.

As long as you are flexible on the utilities aspect, I would recommend around south congress. Lots of young singles/couples. It is also close to downtown for festivals etc.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-14-2011, 11:28 PM
 
2,249 posts, read 3,222,050 times
Reputation: 909
Use Austin Home Search to search for leases. There won't be any scams like you'll find on Craigslist as it's run by the Austin Board of Realtors for consumers. It just doesn't have as much detailed information as the actual MLS.

Austin Home Search Lease (http://www.austinhomesearch.com/Search/Lease.aspx - broken link)

You'll definitely be able to find:

1. Monthly rent is less than $1300.
3. Safety.*
4. Backyard for a vegetable garden.
5. 700 sq ft - 1500 sq ft. We do not want to pay a lot in utilities during the summer.

These will be tougher:
2. No carpet.
5. Community of young professionals, rather than families with kids. (The safe areas in your price range attract families with kids. You'll most likely see a mix of everyone in most neighborhoods. However, the areas with highly rated school districts will always have more kids so in general, you should stay away from places like Cedar Park and Round Rock even though they would have homes in your price range)
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-15-2011, 01:08 PM
 
239 posts, read 236,701 times
Reputation: 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by leia84 View Post
Hello, we are a young couple, planning to move to Austin or its neighborhoods. We are looking to rent a house. This is our first time looking at houses, and our first time in the South. Although we have been looking at many resources, we are not confident about how to look for a house.

About Us:
- We are in our late twenties, not planning to have kids yet.
- We are East Asian (not Indian or Vietnamese) and Jewish.
- We both work from home.

House Priorities (A smaller number is more important):
1. Monthly rent is less than $1300.
2. No carpet.
3. Safety.*
4. Backyard for a vegetable garden.
5. Community of young professionals, rather than families with kids.
5. 700 sq ft - 1500 sq ft. We do not want to pay a lot in utilities during the summer.

* I understand that a word 'safe' is relative. After looking at https://www.crimereports.com I was very surprised about the number of property crimes and sexual offenders in Austin. Is their map consistent with your feelings as a resident?

Resources looked up:
- City-Data
- Craigslist
- Greenlight Locating
- Rent.com
- Trulia
- Zillow

Questions:
1. Which neighborhoods do you recommend for us?
2. Any good websites or other resources to find houses around Austin?
3. When we visit a house, what should we look for and what should we ask?

It has been a very moderate winter for us, how is Austin?
I hope that you have a nice holiday. Thank you for reading
It's difficult to find the perfect place, sight unseen. It might be wise to rent an apartment in an area that appears to be suitable (and btw, a garden was near impossible due to this year's heat and drought AND the cost of utilities for a house vs apartment will become apparent once you have lived thru an Austin summer). That way you could become familiar with the idiosyncrasies of Austin real estate.

Based on your criteria however, you may do well closer to the city than the outskirts. The "suburbs" are very family oriented.

Check out the Domain...a popular live-work-shop community popular with young professionals, but situated north (and I would say a suburb) of Austin.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:14 PM
 
Location: Northeast
5 posts, read 3,804 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin97 View Post
You probably should mention what kind of things you do for fun. Your housing request matches a lot. What kind of vibe do you want?

Most of the central areas will be older construction and so utilities will be higher. How high is too high? We pay about 300/month (water,power, garbage,gas) in 100 degrees in our 2800 sq ft 2001 house. In the winter it is probably about $75.

As long as you are flexible on the utilities aspect, I would recommend around south congress. Lots of young singles/couples. It is also close to downtown for festivals etc.
Thank you for replying! You are very kind.

For fun, we like to garden, play board games, and take walks in the evenings.

We would like to limit our average monthly expenses to $1,500 for rent and utilities.

Thank you for your suggestions so far.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-15-2011, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Northeast
5 posts, read 3,804 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark311 View Post
Use Austin Home Search to search for leases. There won't be any scams like you'll find on Craigslist as it's run by the Austin Board of Realtors for consumers. It just doesn't have as much detailed information as the actual MLS.

Austin Home Search Lease (http://www.austinhomesearch.com/Search/Lease.aspx - broken link)

You'll definitely be able to find:

1. Monthly rent is less than $1300.
3. Safety.*
4. Backyard for a vegetable garden.
5. 700 sq ft - 1500 sq ft. We do not want to pay a lot in utilities during the summer.

These will be tougher:
2. No carpet.
5. Community of young professionals, rather than families with kids. (The safe areas in your price range attract families with kids. You'll most likely see a mix of everyone in most neighborhoods. However, the areas with highly rated school districts will always have more kids so in general, you should stay away from places like Cedar Park and Round Rock even though they would have homes in your price range)
Thank you for the link! We hadn't found this previously, and it has a lot of good information.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-15-2011, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Northeast
5 posts, read 3,804 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbchitown View Post
It's difficult to find the perfect place, sight unseen. It might be wise to rent an apartment in an area that appears to be suitable (and btw, a garden was near impossible due to this year's heat and drought AND the cost of utilities for a house vs apartment will become apparent once you have lived thru an Austin summer). That way you could become familiar with the idiosyncrasies of Austin real estate.

Based on your criteria however, you may do well closer to the city than the outskirts. The "suburbs" are very family oriented.

Check out the Domain...a popular live-work-shop community popular with young professionals, but situated north (and I would say a suburb) of Austin.
Hi! Thank you for your response. We are planning to visit Austin in March, and spend a month or so for house hunting so that we can get to know the area before moving in anywhere.

Having a back yard for gardening is more important for us than living with young professionals, even if it is hot.

We haven't lived in a family area before. Are there any inconveniences for a young couple without children to live in a family area?

Thank you for suggesting the Domain, it looks like a very convenient place to shop.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Crestview, Austin, TX
149 posts, read 167,449 times
Reputation: 53
I would suggest the following areas: North Loop, Brentwood, Crestview. You should be able to get a 2-1 around 1000 SF for around $1300 (maybe a little more). Your budget puts neighborhoods closer to downtown such as Rosedale and Hyde Park out. All these neighborhoods mentioned are older, thus houses generally have original pine wood floors (but usually poor insulation). These neighborhoods are mixtures of seniors (original residents of the houses when they were built in the 1950's), young families, young couples, and singles (lots of graduate students at UT). They are less "family" than the suburban neighborhoods but still have some neighborhood amenities. Very walkable neighborhoods. In Crestview and Brentwood, many residents have gardens (and quite a few houses with chicken coops). There is a community garden (look up Sunshine Community Gardens) tied into these neighborhoods if you would rather a shared plot.

I also suggest some parts of East Austin if you find that the neighborhoods mentioned above do not fit your budget.
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Old 12-19-2011, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Northeast
5 posts, read 3,804 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnaaries View Post
I would suggest the following areas: North Loop, Brentwood, Crestview. You should be able to get a 2-1 around 1000 SF for around $1300 (maybe a little more). Your budget puts neighborhoods closer to downtown such as Rosedale and Hyde Park out. All these neighborhoods mentioned are older, thus houses generally have original pine wood floors (but usually poor insulation). These neighborhoods are mixtures of seniors (original residents of the houses when they were built in the 1950's), young families, young couples, and singles (lots of graduate students at UT). They are less "family" than the suburban neighborhoods but still have some neighborhood amenities. Very walkable neighborhoods. In Crestview and Brentwood, many residents have gardens (and quite a few houses with chicken coops). There is a community garden (look up Sunshine Community Gardens) tied into these neighborhoods if you would rather a shared plot.

I also suggest some parts of East Austin if you find that the neighborhoods mentioned above do not fit your budget.
Thank you for the reply! We looked at the community gardens, they might be a good option for us. We looked at the neighborhoods you suggested, and are now looking into East Austin. Thanks!
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