Are you thinking about buying a home in the beautiful city of Austin? This sprawling town is growing every year, and with all that it has to offer, it’s no surprise you want to live there! Let’s take a look at some crucial steps for a successful Austin home search.
1.Find Out What You Can Afford
Whether you have a modest income or an extravagant one, knowing how much house you can afford is the first step in a successful Austing home search.
Cost of Living in Austin
According to a recent cost of living survey, the average salary you need to make to live in Texas is just under $64,000 a year. Many economists agree, however, that to live comfortably, you need about $94,000 a year. Texas as a whole is a relatively affordable place to live, but Austin, Texas is one of those cities where everything is just a bit more expensive because of all that the city has to offer.
Median Home Price
There are a variety of home options available in Austin, but the average single-family home will cost about $422,255 according to Zillow. Home prices in Austin have consistently been on the rise, and they’re expected to gain another 5.6% increase in the coming year.
How to Calculate What You Can Afford
Though the median house costs a little under half a million dollars in Austin, that doesn’t mean you can’t afford to live in this city. With the right budgeting of your salary, you can absolutely find a home that you can afford. The first item on your steps for a successful Austin home search is to figure out how much home you can afford. You can do this by using the 50/30/20 rule. This popular budgeting rule advises the following:
- 50% of your income goes to needs
- 30% of your income goes to wants
- 20% of your income goes to savings
A house falls under the needs category, though this does not mean that 50% of your income should go to your house payment. Remember, this 50% should also cover things like groceries, utilities, car payments, and insurance. Typically, you want your house payment to be no more than 1/4 of your monthly spending. Any more than that and you might be looking at a house you can’t afford.
2. Decide How Much Space You Need
In deciding what the right home for you is, you need to consider how much space you need. One of the biggest mistakes first-time homebuyers make is buying too much house and becoming house poor. Here are some things to consider when you are looking at how much space you need in a home.
You may not have kids now, but if you plan on having kids in the future, how many bedrooms will you need? Hopefully, if you plan on purchasing a home, it’s for an extended period of time, so be sure that the house can grow along with you.
For some families, especially families with children, a yard is a must. Deciding and whether your home should have a yard can help you narrow down your options when you’re working the steps for a successful Austin home search.
Another detail you should factor into your home search is a garage. Will you need the extra space? If not, this is an amenity you can skip over.
3. Decide on Your Location
The sprawling city of Austin is just over 271 square miles. With all this space, different parts of Austin will offer various amenities at different price points. Choosing which part of Austin to live in depends on what your needs are.
Do you need to be closer to downtown Austin? Are you looking for a quiet neighborhood with trendy housing options like those found in South Austin? Or perhaps you’d like to live on the West Side where you can feel more connected to the outdoors? Here are some things to consider when selecting your location:
- Your commute to work
- Being close to major city centers
- Quiet residential areas for raising a family
- Being close to family members and friends that live in the city
- General traffic
4. Find a Reputable Realtor
Finding a reputable realtor to help you in your search is crucial when you’re working the steps for a successful Austin home search. Your realtor can help you figure out your needs and pair them with a location that best caters to those needs. When deciding on a realtor, you want to look for someone sensitive to your needs, aggressive in the search, and willing to take their time as they work with you. Remember that a good realtor works for you and you should never feel pressured to purchase unless you feel that it’s the best home for you.
5. Start Looking at Homes
Once you have a realtor that you feel you can trust, it’s time to start looking at homes. If you have found a list of homes that you like online, that’s great. But, looking at them in person will allow you to figure out whether or not it is the right home for you. Create a list of all the homes that you want to see, and then try to pick out five or six homes to see on any given day with your realtor.
6. Prepare for Closing Day
Once you have found the best home that fits your needs, it’s time to start preparing for closing day. Some things that you should never skip out of on closing day include the following.
- Get the home inspected
- Get your home appraised
- Transfer utilities
- Get your home insurance in order
Ensure that before you close, you make a point to do a final walk-through of the property. Doing a final walk-through, especially once the previous owners have moved out, will allow you to see exactly what you are getting, and any issues that remain could still be negotiated out before closing.
The search for your new home does not have to be a stressful one. Follow these simple steps for a successful Austin home search, and you should be in your dream home sooner than later.
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