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Old 01-16-2019, 08:33 AM
 
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Hello,

I'm new to this forum and I regret not finding it sooner! There's a wealth of information here, but I'm finding it can be difficult to parse through it all.

I am looking to move to Austin late this year, and am looking for a neighborhood on the higher end. My budget is around $2,500,000.

I've had a preliminary meeting with a realtor and also spent some time reading these forums. From what I've gathered, it seems I'm looking for a home in the following neighborhoods:

West Lake Hills
Spanish Oaks
Barton Hills
Rollingwood
Lake Travis

I'd like to have the following:

0.5+ acre lot
3500+ sq ft
built in 2010+
within 20 mins of downtown



The homes in West Lake Hills/Rollingwood seem a bit small unless you want to spend $4M+, though the proximity to downtown is a big plus.

I understand Spanish Oaks has had some financial problems in the past, and a significant portion of the properties are unoccupied for most of the year (vacation homes). Not to mention they're still trying to sell quite a few. Also seems like an issue getting downtown within 20 mins with the traffic around the area.

I liked Lake Travis, but I think I'd have to be on the southern end of it to be reasonably close to downtown. That means I have a much smaller workable area to search for homes.

So that leaves Barton Hills, which is within 20 mins to downtown and seems to be more reasonably priced than the rest. Are the amenities here as nice as they are in Spanish Oaks? It seems more of a mixed community to me - homes ranging from $300k to $3M+.


Are there other good neighborhoods I should consider? Are my thoughts above accurate?
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
12,309 posts, read 28,159,444 times
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By 'Lake Travis', do you mean Lakeway? If you do, it is rarely, if ever, going to be 20 minutes to the city limits of Austin, much less downtown.
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:43 AM
 
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do you need to worry about schools at all? where are you working? what things do you like to do? Do you want views? Lake front etc? Do you need a master planned community? walkability? premium country club?

the best thing to do is go to austinhomesearch.com and put in your price range (I would set my lower price filter to start around 1M and then slowly increase it) and see what areas pop up.

For me there is no way I would live anywhere outside of 360 if I was spending 2.5M

For that amount of money I would

1) buy a house on lake austin
2) be very central but back up to the barton creek greenbelt with direct access from my house
3) be right in the thick of downtown
4) buy a bunch of houses in east austin and tear them all down

Clarksville, tarrytown, 78704 (my friend has a house bordering zilker) have limited inventory in that size, but it is possible and those neighborhoods are very premium. They are more walkable and commute to downtown is very easy.


Not sure why the house has to be built after 2010, I would also look at older homes that you can spend 400K-1M to completely gut and make exactly how you want. I would focus on the exact type of location you want first.

I would 100% make sure I had at least 1 acre with that kind of price range. (for example I have 100 acres in the middle of town, my house is 3800 sq ft, and the value is less than 2.5M).

Last edited by Austin97; 01-16-2019 at 09:15 AM..
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:48 AM
 
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also if you are buying in rollingwood, 2.5M is getting you 5K+ sq ft.

Do a little searching my recommendation would be to buy a house in the 1.5M range and then gut it for about 700K. That would give you a lot more options.

Even in barton creek it is hard to spend more than 2M. Until you are buying on the lake austin you will struggle to find inventory about 2M

Also this is texas you need to have a ranch. Maybe spend 1.5M on the house and 1M on a ranch or a lake house.

Last edited by Austin97; 01-16-2019 at 08:59 AM..
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:52 AM
 
8 posts, read 3,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin97 View Post
do you need to worry about schools at all? where are you working? what things do you like to do? Do you want views? Lake front etc? Do you need a master planned community? walkability? premium country club?
No need to worry about schools, I don't have kids. I am working close to the downtown area, slightly NW.

I'm a car fanatic, so I expect I'll be attending car events in Austin as often as I am able. I also like to be close to restaurants/shopping centers, but at the same time would like decent walking/biking trails nearby.


I'd like to have views of either the lake or hill country. A master planned community would be ideal, with decent walkability and a country club.

Appreciate the suggestions on other neighborhoods and austinhomesearch. I will definitely have a look today!
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:55 AM
 
8 posts, read 3,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin97 View Post
also if you are buying in rollingwood, 2.5M is getting you 5K+ sq ft.

Do a little searching my recommendation would be to buy a house in the 1.5M range and then gut it for about 700K. That would give you a lot more options.

Even in barton creek it is hard to spend more than 2M. Until you are buying on the lake austin you will struggle to find inventory about 2M
Fair, though I'm not sure I'm ready for the hassle of gutting a place and re-doing it.

My other issue with this is that I don't want to end up being the most expensive house in the neighborhood. I'd much rather be the cheapest house in an expensive area.
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
9,900 posts, read 8,808,708 times
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West Lake Hills. In the richer areas $2.5M will be on the average end and there will be $4M+ homes.

Don't cheap out, WLH is the place if you have money.
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:26 AM
 
6,128 posts, read 11,195,228 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larfvm View Post
Fair, though I'm not sure I'm ready for the hassle of gutting a place and re-doing it.

My other issue with this is that I don't want to end up being the most expensive house in the neighborhood. I'd much rather be the cheapest house in an expensive area.
LOL at 2.5M you are generally going to be the most expensive house. Even our rich areas are going to mainly be about 1.8-2M for 6K square ft. Areas like rollingwood etc are expensive, but there is a huge premium for the schools. If you live in tarrytown, zilker, barton hills, the schools are bad, so more of the value of the house is based on the proximity to zilker park and all the restaurants near south congress/south first/south lamar.

You literally can live anywhere in the city. But master planned community and walkable don't go together (walkable to stores, bars, theaters, etc). Also the masterplanned are great if you have kids, but you are really disconnected and isolated from the energy of the city. The two best country clubs are austin country club and barton creek country club. If you want walkable you wouldnt live near either of those. So ultimately it is a choice. One other option is to buy a downtown condo for about 1M and then a house near the country club for about 1.5.

For example, if you are a car guy, want walkable, and hike and bike, then you could live near zilker with direct access to the barton creek greenbelt. Get a big enough lot that you can add a 4 car garage to a house with an existing 2 car garage. I would look at barton hills. Barton hills houses are old but you can tear one down. I personally would wait for one that actually backs up and allows entry into the Barton creek green belt. They dont come up often so you might need to rent a condo downtown for awhile while you search.

The cost to build a really nice house is about 300/sq ft. A very nice house is 200/sq ft and a tract home is 100/sq ft So at 5000 sq ft it will be about 1.5M.
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:41 AM
 
6,128 posts, read 11,195,228 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cBach View Post
West Lake Hills. In the richer areas $2.5M will be on the average end and there will be $4M+ homes.

Don't cheap out, WLH is the place if you have money.
This is simply not true. Downtown has the highest concentration of 2+ million, then barton creek by the country club, then there is an area north of westlake hills that is a mishmash of small neighborhoods, then westlake hills.

# houses greater than 2M
downtown - 20
Barton creek - 14, but a smaller area than the mishmash
Mishmash -10
Westlake hills has 6

Depending on the definition of neighborhood, you can get a small named area that is an average of 2.5M, but they will tend to be a few streets gated in a broader neighborhood.

The neighborhoods with the highest averages will always be anything that is on town lake, then lake austin.
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:41 AM
 
8 posts, read 3,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin97 View Post
LOL at 2.5M you are generally going to be the most expensive house. Even our rich areas are going to mainly be about 1.8-2M for 6K square ft. Areas like rollingwood etc are expensive, but there is a huge premium for the schools. If you live in tarrytown, zilker, barton hills, the schools are bad, so more of the value of the house is based on the proximity to zilker park and all the restaurants near south congress/south first/south lamar.
From the listings I've browsed on Zillow/Realtor, houses in West Lake Hills are running minimum $2M. I'm still (very) early on in my search, so perhaps I'm overestimating COL in Austin. I am, after all, coming from a quite low COL city.

And I should mention, nowhere near 6k sq ft unless you're looking at $3.5M+.
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