We're here!!! Question (Austin, Round Rock, Spring: apartment, rental, houses)
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Woohoo. We are in Austin! We're visiting for about a week and checking out neighborhoods, homes, etc.
We're been downtown and are staying in Barton Hills (vacation rental house). We'll be going around with the realtor today, but had a chance to drive around on our own yesterday. Saw Circle C Ranch .... yuck. Can we say stepford? We'll still go look at VAWO and Steiner Ranch, but it's quickly become clear that these neighborhoods are not our cup of tea.
On the other hand, we're loving Barton Springs and the whole city vibe. I need suggestions for neighborhoods in Austin proper that we should consider.
Our downsides to living right in the city is 1) higher cost, 2) smaller homes/yards, 3) worried about school quality.
Barton springs may end up being out of our price range ... so I'm looking for suggestions on where else to look (our realtor will be helping with this, of course)
We need 4-5 bedrooms (not for luxury, we work from home and need offices), really, really want a nice yard for the kids, and would love to be able to be close to off-road biking. Schools MUST be very good.
Saw Circle C Ranch .... yuck. Can we say stepford?
Perhaps, but you can also say "college bound kids", and "$100-$120 per sqft". and "20 minutes to downtown".
Central Austin you're looking at $250 per square foot for an old unimproved home, so your $300-$350K gets you a 1200-1400 sqft home, perhaps with 3 bedrooms and 1 bath.
I LOVE central Austin and lived there for years, so don't get me wrong, but there are economic realities that dissuade a lot of buyers once that actually start looking at the specific homes they can afford.
Welcome to Austin! Hope you find your perfect spot.
Look carefully at Barton Hills and Zilker neighborhood. It will be hard to find something at that price but the schools are very good and you are so close in. Look at Allandale. Great lots for kids. There are a few 4 and 5 bedrooms in Allandale but they can be hard to find and I haven't seen one on the market for months. Look at Highland Hills and NW Hills, good schools, bigger lots and houses, very hard to find in your price range but you might get lucky.
Steve, I couldn't sell my 2002, green built, house in Travis Heights for $186 a sq foot! The older stuff is high but there are now tons of newer infill houses that do not command $300 a sq foot. Shoot, I know plenty of people with older TH houses that can't get $250 a sq foot. The days of $300 a sq foot in Travis Heights are long gone except for a few exceptional houses.
OP, you do not want my house or others in the neighborhood because of the schools.
I agree with Steve. It is going to be near impossible to find a 4-5 BR house with great schools in Central Austin for less than $350k.
I'm curious to see what you think of Steiner. I can see where you would get the Stepford impression, but we love it here. You may also want to check out Lakeway. There are homes in Lakeway that are not part of master-planned communities or subdivisions and are not cookie cutter, that may fit the bill (areas like Apache Shores, for example). A little farther to Downtown, but Lake Travis schools are really good.
Circle C and such may be delightful to many, but to others, yes, they do give a "Stepford" feel. That's just the way it is - different strokes for different folks.
You might want to check out Allandale, Crestview, that area. Also check out Highland Park. It IS going to be hard to find 4 to 5 bedrooms very close in in an area with good schools (though that sort of depends on what your definition of "good" is), but you might be able to find a 3 bedroom house with a large garage apartment - would that fit the bill? Look just north of UT, in Hyde Park and between Hyde Park and UT. Can be pricey there, but sometimes you can find a deal.
You probably won't find that size house but you could find a 3bed with a garage apartment. There are quite a few houses with these in the central area and would be perfect for a home office.
A central home with a garage apartment is like the holy grail in Austin.. I've been looking for one for years. They exist but are rare IMO. Duplexes are much easier to find in this city.
I'd echo the suggestions to check out Travis Heights and Barton Hills (as you are already doing). On the north side, Allandale and Crestview may be a good options (Crestview will have rail station)... a bit further west -- Northwest Hills, Highland Hills, Lakewood and Westover Hills all have easy access to mountain biking on the Bull Creek greenbelt and great schools. All these neighborhoods will be difficult to get in at $300-$350K, but with the housing market as it is, you should never rule them out due to price! There will be some deals out there, if you are willing to be flexible on your "perfect house" in order to have a "perfect location".
Thanks for all your suggestions. I'll pass them on to our realtor and we'll also be doing some driving on our own. If you have actual street/intersection suggestions, I'm very receptive.
Austin-Steve, I didn't mean to insult. I can see how others would like CC - that's why there's variety, because we don't all like or want the same things. And, yes, the distance to downtown makes it very appealing, as do the prices. My "yuck" was merely a reflection of my own taste and opinion, not a judgment on others who might choose the area because it works for them. But, clearly, I could've chosen better descriptives.
Today, we checked out Legend Oaks and I liked the look and feel of it significantly better than CC ... not sure why, just a bit less "same-looking" and more mature trees, not as sharply manicured, though still somewhat "straight and narrow". Because I liked Legend Oaks well enough, we put Steiner Ranch and VAWO back on the list, will see them tomorrow or Fri (should've stopped there today since we were so close, but oh well).
We also went around Barton Hills and, yep, the homes are small, expensive and many need work. We're thinking about that. We LOVE LOVE the neighborhood though and are bummed that the prices might take us out of the game - but it's early enough in our process, we can still dream/ delude ourselves .
We were also up in Highland Hills and Cat Mountain ... gorgeous area. We saw a few nice homes that would push us a bit over our range, but would be doable. However, we talked to one of the neighbors, an older woman, and she seemed to suggest that it wasn't very "family-focused", not sure if that's all of the neighborhood or just her street *shrug*
Then we went to Round Rock and I didn't like that either. There doesn't seem to be much going on there (as far as the liveliness that we're looking for). It seemed more like an office park neighborhood (which makes sense, with Dell and all).
Is Leander pretty much like Round Rock? Haven't made it up there yet and, honestly, I don't even want to bother if it's the same type of thing.'
I really appreciate getting so much help from you guys and apologize if I insult you or your choices with my preferences ... I'm just trying to be honest about what we are liking and not liking so as to give a clearer picture of what we're looking for ... and hence get better/ more focused opinions.
I think that Leander is a bit like Round Rock. And we used to live in Northwest Hills, not too far from Cat Mountain. I don't think that it wasn't family-focused, it's just that there weren't really any kids, at least not where we were. Everyone was nice, but most seemed to be older empty nesters and people who had been in their houses for 20 years, so the kids were all grown.
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