28 February . 2019
How to find the right community in Austin
Finding the perfect new-home community in Austin can be hard, especially when there are so many choices in all parts of the metro area. If you’re new to the area and have a limited time to find the right new home and community, it can be even harder. To help, we’ve come up with this list of five major things to consider.
It starts with location. There’s a good reason location is repeated three times (“Location, location, location”) as the most enduring rule of real estate. It may sound like a cliché, but it’s true. You may be able to change many things to customize your new home, but you can’t change your location. Our advice: choose a community that is close to everything, including your heart. Beautiful surroundings make it easy to love where you live.
Strong schools are a smart choice. If you have kids or are planning to start a family, a top-rated school district ranks right at the top of your priorities. If a community has a strong commitment to education, that gives you a good sense of its values. That’s especially true if a community has one or more onsite schools that residents really embrace. Even if you don’t have kids, a highly regarded school district can enhance home values and resale potential.
Amenity appeal. When looking at new communities, take some time to think about what amenities are most important to you and your family. After all, a community that boasts a championship golf course might not be the best choice if golfing doesn’t interest you. Would you rather have a clubhouse, where you can enjoy organized events and impromptu fun with family and neighbors? Do you love trails for their scenery and health benefits? What about a well-equipped fitness center? Check out all of a community’s amenities, including the smaller, lesser-known ones that really appeal to your interests, like a community garden or bocce ball court.
Feel the vibe, or not. Sometimes, a community develops a distinct personality, whether it’s outgoing and friendly, active and outdoorsy, or exclusive and sophisticated. In the best cases, the vibe is nurtured along by a vision that’s intentionally brought to life through the master plan and amenities. Some communities, like Rancho Sienna, organize lifestyle events and activities designed to bring residents together and foster friendships. In some communities, there’s no real sense of belonging, and very rarely do neighbors help or support each other. There are no big amenities or events that encourage residents to interact with each other. A community “vibe” isn’t a concrete thing, but you can definitely feel it and even see it as you watch for residents interact (or not) in the parks, trails and community centers.
Read the reviews. One great thing about our connected Internet society is that it’s easy to get the lowdown on a community from sites like NextDoor, AreaVibes and GreatSchools, among many others. It’s also easy to talk directly to potential future neighbors you might see out in a community you’re considering. Real estate agents are also a great source of information. Check out reviews on Facebook and other social media sites. If a community has an event where both residents and the public are invited, such as a seasonal festival, that’s an opportunity to have fun, and also to get the real story of what it’s like to live there.
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