Moving to Austin.. Cedar Park? (Round Rock, West: to rent, HOA fees, lender)
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
My husband is going to be transfer from San Francisco to Austin in December; He will be working at home or traveling outside Texas. We have 1 kid ( 1 year old) and probably we will add a new member very soon, our plan is to live in this home for around 10 to 15 years.
The most important factors are:
2)House with 4 beds and decent back yard
3)Nice and family oriented neighborhood
We would like to buy a house in Cedar Park, Round Rock areas, our budget is max 400k, but I am not sure if we are doing the right decision about the neighborhood. Here are my concerns:
1)Do you think that the prices of houses in this area are going down in the following months?
2)I read that the round rock and lender school district are good, and actually I found a lot of exemplary elementary schools but a few middle schools with high ratings
3)I was reading in another thread that an average/decent location can easily become a mediocre home in a mediocre/bad location after 10 years, and I believe these areas are average/decent location, Do you think that these areas are going to be in the long future as bad locations?
4)I will start looking for a job as a software engineer as soon as we move to Austin; I donít want a commute longer than 30 minutes.
Please let me know if you have other suggestions about neighborhoods
I probably shouldn't say a thing, I know zip about Cedar Park, I've been there a handful of times. It is pretty hard-core suburban. Definitely do not buy there sight unseen, particularly coming from SF.
You should be able to get a pretty large house around Cedar Park for that price. Schools in the area are good but the districts are large and getting larger, so there are the issues and problems that come with growth.
I'd look closer to Austin, maybe the Westwood HS area of RRISD, which is partly inside the city limits. And it is hard to the beat the Doss Elementary, Murchinson middle, and Anderson HS in AISD, and that's a very solid, sure to keep its value neighborhood. You could find something for $400K or under there now. But that's just me.
get a great realtor and take a good look around first. Nothing wrong with renting for a year or two either.
Please do not buy a house unless you've lived in an area to get a better feel for it first. If you plan to stay somewhere 10-15 years, you'll want to live in an area you like, right?
Lastly, my Wife and I visited Austin awhile back. Round rock is what I'd call outright suburban hell with tons and tons of cookie-cutter houses and a hellacious commute to the city. We marked it off our list immediately.
But... you can find pretty decent houses for 150-200k or less easily in these areas. So they are a bang for your buck if you just want a house to live in and that's it.
What you see in Round Rock (or Cedar Park, for that matter) depends on where you go in those communities. There are some lovely neighborhoods in both (not cookie cutter at all, though, of course, as in any city, you can find those if you're looking for them), some with HOA's, some without, some with a suburban feel, some more reflective of the fact that both of those communities started out long ago as towns in their own right, not "suburbs" of Austin at all. In either community you should be able to find something very nice within your price range.
The commute from either one to downtown (if you were to work there - most people in Austin do NOT work downtown) fits within your 30 minute limit if you go the right route. If you're working north of downtown, it will be even less.
If you have 400k to spend, I would not focus just on Cedar Park. Especially if you're coming from San Francisco. There is no neighborhood in SF that compares to the very suburban feel of Cedar Park. That said, with 400k you can afford a whole lot of house out there. Definitely visit first and rent for a while if you're not familiar with Austin.
I agree that it sounds like you should rent for six months before buying a place. Your 30 minute commute requirement is the main reason since you don't know where you'll be working. In rush hour traffic, it is very possible that you could have an hour commute if you're up in Cedar Park or Round Rock depending on where you find a job.
If you haven't already looked at property taxes in Texas, be sure to look as the percentage is much higher than CA. Property taxes on a $400K house along with HOA fees could easily add $800 or more to your monthly payment if you choose to pay your taxes monthly.
Do you mean are the prices of the houses going down in the next few months or the next few years? Not quite sure what you're trying to find out with that question.
When folks ask if Austin is a buyer's market or a seller's market, I have to ask a couple of questions before I can answer it. The first question is, "What part of Austin?" or "What neighborhood?" The second is, "What price point within that area?" It can easily be a buyer's market AND a seller's market in the same neighborhood, depending on the price point. So that makes it a bit difficult to answer "are house prices going down?"
My Wife and I spent a week exploring Austin. We actually got up and drove on the freeway going away from the city at prime rush hour to see what areas would be the worst for traffic. We did this each morning. By far, the traffic was the worst coming from the Round Rock area. It was seriously backed up for miles. That was strike one. Strike two was that while I agree, there was some cute parts of Round Rock, it was totally encircled by huge shopping malls, huge tract home developments, and tons of non-stop traffic.
What we did find was that the least amount of traffic was coming from South of the city. That's because there's not as much development there. That and it turns rural a lot quicker. Probably not the best thing for families with kids, but since we don't have them nor plan on having them, it would be ideal for us.
It seemed like the hoity-toity areas were near Bee Caves and the hills closer to the city across the 360 bridge. We're talking ENORMOUS houses- and again- built in a plopped out, cookie-cutter fashion.
The impression I came away with was that there were several distinct types of housing there. There was the cookie cutter homes built out in massive numbers and these could be had for not a lot of money. We're talking some for $100k-$150k. Then there were the older neighborhoods near the city and of those, about half of them were really expensive ( those up in the hills at least) and then there were many, particularly in South Austin, that were affordable but small and (luckily for us) not kid friendly to the tastes of most families. Lastly there were the huge mega-mcmansions built outside the city across the river, and these seemed to be where people with money and out of state retirees lived.
We saw this in just a week and we just skimmed the surface. That's why we will not even think of buying until we've been there at least a year. That and the property taxes sort of freak me out because they're so high.
I totally agree with you guys that the best option is to rent for a few months before to buy and I would try to convince my husband to do this, but in case that I can’t change his mind could you give me your advice about good locations according to my criteria:
Price: max 400K
Size: 4 bedrooms (3,000 to 3,500 sqt)
I went to Austin two months ago, and I do believe is a nice city and I am so excited about this new adventure I will go again next month to know a little more about the city, please advice about neighborhood that I must see.
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $53,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.
Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.