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Live music, BBQ, and sunny skies year-round — what’s not to love about Austin? This Texas city has a lot to offer, which is why 2019 marked Austin’s ninth yearof record-setting home sales while home prices hit record highs. That’s great news for Austin homeowners who have watched their equity grow over recent years, but it can make it tough for newcomers to buy into the Austin housing market.
Whether you’re new to the city or a long-time Austinite looking to buy, these tips will help you get into your perfect Austin home.
Understand the Housing Market
There’s no question that Austin is a seller’s market, with home prices averaging $395Kover the last month and the hottest properties selling in under a week. But what exactly does that mean for buyers?
Shoppers who want to buy into the competitive Austin housing market need to be prepared to move quickly. That means getting preapproved for a mortgage before stepping onto the market and keeping a watchful eye on new listings so you can schedule showings as soon as the right house makes an appearance.
Know Your Neighborhoods
Just how hot the housing market is depends a lot on where you’re looking. While some neighborhoods are high-priced and highly competitive, others are friendlier to new buyers.
Many of the trendiest neighborhoods such as Hyde Park are out of reach for first-time Austin buyers, although buyers who can afford these hip neighborhoods will enjoy easy access to everything Downtown Austin has to offer. Young professionals looking for more affordable options should shop in North Loop, North University, Windsor Hills, or the starter home-friendlyEast Riverside-Oltorf.
Meanwhile, the best neighborhoods for familiesinclude Mueller, Cherrywood, and Allandale, although these areas can be quite competitive. Buyers who prefer a suburban lifestyle will appreciate homes in Milwood, Avery Ranch, or Brushy Creek.
Watch Out for These Problems
Austin is full of unique homes, but Austin-area homes also face some unique problems. Here’s what to look out for as you shop:
Traffic: Austin drivers have some of the worstcommute timesin the country. Homebuyers who want to avoid hours behind the wheel should buy near their workplace or look for housing close to a rail or bus line with an easy ride to the office.
Flooding: The Austin area is extremely prone to flash flooding. Austin buyers should check if a home is in a floodplain using the city’s FloodProtool before buying.
Foundation problems: Foundation problemsare another issue Central Texas buyers should look out for. To avoid homes with foundation problems, buyers may want to invest in a structural engineer to assess the foundation and any foundation repairs (which costs an average of $600 to $1,000).
Make a Competitive Offer
Buyers can’t afford to waste time with lowball offers in a seller’s market. Offers should be at or near the listing price, which means buyers need to shop in neighborhoods that comfortably fit their budget. Make sure you have a hard price limit so that if a bidding warbreaks out, you know when to step away.
It’s also important to avoid excessive contingenciesin your offer. While contingencies make the process easier for buyers, they also make sellers less likely to accept an offer. Talk to your real estate agent to learn which contingencies are common in Austin and which are best omitted.
Perhaps the worst thing Austin homebuyers can do is attempt to time the market. Austin’s housing market shows no signs of slowing, which means the best time to buy is now. Besides, with rents rising alongside home prices, Austin residents will feel the pinch either way. By buying now, you can lock in your home price and start watching your equity grow instead of watching rents rise.
Austin is a great place to own a home, but it can be a challenging city to buy. Instead of trying to go it alone, let a real estate agent help you buy your perfect Austin home. With an experienced agent by your side, you can beat the competition and get into a home that fits your lifestyle and your budget.
Founder of Localigraf
Image via Unsplash
posted on 1/17/2020