Why Buy In Austin?

Why Buy In Austin?

[ Sidenote from Joe: The fine folks at Trulia reached out to the Home Style Austin team to collaborate on a post that addressed the home buying climate in Austin. I provided them with three Austin neighborhoods most envied and sought-after by my clients. Enjoy the findings! ]

Post by Jennifer Riner, Trulia

After years of renting, you might be inclined to allocate your savings toward a home purchase. Current high rental prices across the U.S. combined with boosting homeownership aspirations amongst many Americans create a conversation hard to ignore.

In a Trulia survey conducted by Harris Poll last December, 75 percent of Americans said they dream of owning a home one day, with 80 percent of millennials sharing the same sentiment. Nonetheless, 22 percent of Americans are concerned of potential rising mortgage rates.

Austin: A market to watch for 2016

Along with the stats, Trulia provided predictions on the 2016 housing market to assist upcoming buyers. In that, economists pointed out Austin as the third hottest housing market to watch this year, based on five factors:

  • Employment growth last year
  • Low vacancy rates
  • Affordability
  • High inbound home searches and
  • A large share of millennials molded the top ten list.

Austin stole the third spot primarily due to two elements: a high number of young residents and job expansion.

With 80 percent of millennial Americans dreaming of owning a home – a third of whom plan to buy by 2018 – and Austin being an increasingly important city for young professionals, buying a home in Austin is a hot topic. Especially as the average home price in Austin is sitting in the affordable $250,000 to $300,000 range. In addition mortgages in Austin are 3.54 on a 30-year fixed rate, slightly lower than the national 3.56 rate. But, some economists forecast a rise in the near future, as Trulia’s survey respondents anticipated, so locking down a prime rate now is key.

Choosing Austin isn’t necessarily a difficult decision, but Austin is a diverse city and neighborhood prices reflect its variety. Consider the following enviable Austin areas and their median price points, demographics, crime rankings and schools to help scope the market.

803 Kinney Avenue, Austin, TX 78704  |  List Price: $824,900

803 Kinney Avenue, Austin, TX 78704  |  List Price: $824,900


Zilker is a neighborhood in south central Austin best known for the Zilker Metropolitan Park, a 351-acre haven with a spring-fed pool, Botanical Gardens, Nature and Science Center, Zilker Hillside Theatre and Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum. The average list price on homes for sale in Zilker is $862,671, a 9 percent week-over-week drop as of March 2016. Compared to the rest of Travis County, crime rates in Zilker are low. In Zilker, 59 percent of residents are single, with 55 percent homeowners and a median age of 35 years old. The median household income across all age groups is $78,403, and 73 percent of residents are college educated.

1516 Wildcat Hollow Austin Texas 78746 | List Price: $2,088,000

1516 Wildcat Hollow Austin Texas 78746 | List Price: $2,088,000


Also in Travis County, West Lake Hills homes are some of the most expensive in the greater Austin region. The average list price is $2,553,927 based on 25 homes for sale, and the median household income is $155,441 per year. Just 17 percent of residents are single and 89 percent are homeowners. The median age of residents in West Lake Hills is 45 years old. Schools in West Lake Hills are top-rated, with Eanes Elementary and Forest Trail Elementary scoring a 10 out of 10 on Trulia’s ranks. Valley View Elementary scored a 9 out of 10. There were 14 counts of theft, 13 counts of assault and 11 counts of burglary in West Lake Hills over the past year.

107 Laura Lane Austin TX 78746 | List Price: $1,980,000

107 Laura Lane Austin TX 78746 | List Price: $1,980,000


Rollingwood is an affluent area just 15 minutes west of Downtown Austin. Home prices on real estate in Rollingwood are high with an average list price of $1,907,500 and a correspondingly elevated median household income of $155,441 per year. Just 17 percent of residents are single and 99 percent are homeowners, with a median age of 45 years old. Crime in Rollingwood is extremely low, with just two counts of arrest and one count of vandalism in the past year. Both Rollingwood and West Lake Hills overlook Red Bud Isle Park, a 13 acre recreational park flanked by the Colorado River that is popular with nature lovers who enjoy hiking, canoeing and kayaking. Red Bud Isle is also one of Austin’s 12 prized off-leash dog parks.

Red Bud Isle Park, Austin Texas

Choosing a neighborhood in Austin or the surrounding suburbs will largely depend on your budget and lifestyle, and contacting an established agent to help you in your search is part of being a smart buyer. To help find a home in Zilker, West Lake Hills, Rollingwood and beyond, contact Joe Paul Reider of Keller Williams Realty.


The New Keller Williams Real Estate Mobile AppFree Real Estate App: If you’re home hunting, download my free and powerful Keller Williams real estate app – it’s chock-full of features!

  • Text “KWCP11X” to 87778 to download (this is the easiest method)
  • Or visit this link with more details and to download http://bit.ly/kw-mobile-app


Please Note: All listing information for homes currently for sale in these neighborhoods is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Data and availability is accurate as of March 28, 2016 and subject to change.

Home Style Austin Orzo Salad Recipe

Home Style Austin Orzo Salad
A Great-Tasting Orzo Salad

If you love orzo short-cut pasta as much as I do, you’ll want to try this Home Style Austin house favorite – you might find it becoming a regular side or main dish at your dinner table.

Foodie Tips:

  • You can make this salad ahead of time and let it chill in the refrigerator – perfect to take on-the-go for a picnic or to the office for lunchtime.
  • You can also serve it warm and introduce some protein to make it a main course meal; adding chicken or roasted rotisserie chicken makes this dish delicious!
  • If you’re shy with raw onion you can eliminate it or reduce it to ¼ cup.
  • I added goat cheese to lessen the intensity of the blue cheese flavor (sorry, blue cheese); if you prefer one cheese over the other you can go all the way and use ½ cup of your favorite cheese.
  • Don’t have – or can’t get – Trader Joe’s Artichoke Antipasto? You can substitute 2-4 ounces of marinated artichoke hearts.


½ Cup  |  Orzo Pasta (Prepared)
2 -3 Ounces  |  Trader Joe’s Artichoke Antipasto
1 Medium  |  Tomato, Chopped
½ Cup  |  Celery, Chopped
½ Cup |  Red Onion, Chopped
¼ Cup  |  Crumbled Goat Cheese
¼ Cup  |  Crumbled Blue Cheese
½ Cup |  Black Olives, Chopped
2 Tablespoons  |  Fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped (Optional)
1 Tablespoon  |  Fresh Lemon Juice
½ Teaspoon  |  Dry Oregano
½ Teaspoon  |  Fresh Cracked Black Pepper


1. Prepare the orzo according to package directions, drain and chill in the refrigerator while you’re preparing the rest of the ingredients.

2. When the remaining ingredients are all ready stir them into the orzo and chill 1-2 hours.

Yields: 4-6 servings. Enjoy!

Love this recipe? We want to hear from you!

Austin Realtor Joe Paul Reider



~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

 Love Food? In a click and a scroll you can visit more of my favorite recipes!

An Orzo Salad Recipe From Home Style Austin


Open Houses at 6303 Hickman Avenue

Home Style Austin Open House 11/2/13 : 6303 Hickman Avenue, Austin Texas  78723

Join Us At Open House From 1pm – 4PM On These Dates:

Saturday, November 2, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013

Free music, mints and looksies of this beautifully remodeled ATX homes. (PS ~ We know … FREE MINTS!)

6303 Hickman Avenue, Austin, TX 78723
3 bedrooms / 2 bathrooms, 2,165 square feet

This is a completely rebuilt and expanded home in ultra-hot Windsor Park. The home has an open floor plan with beautiful hardwood floors and porcelain in the wet areas.

The spacious kitchen features gorgeous granite countertops, custom cabinetry and stainless appliances.

The master bath includes dual vanities, a large walk-in closet, and a huge his/her shower.

There’s a large fenced backyard with sprawling deck off living and master. Energy efficient tank-less hot water heater, HVAC, and low e-windows.

The charming front door of 6303 Hickman Ave., Austin, TexasClose to Mueller restaurants, shopping, and the Dell Children’s Medical Center.

Download a Detailed Property Report for 6303 Hickman Avenue, Austin Texas 78723

Call or email me with any questions.

Hope to see you there!

~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Email: JoePaul@KW.com
Mobile: 512.222.3302
Web: JoePaul.KWRealty.com

The New Keller Williams Real Estate Mobile AppFree Real Estate App: If you’re home hunting this weekend or beyond, download my free Keller Willams real estate app here: http://bit.ly/kw-mobile-app

It’s chock-full of features!

Important Questions To Answer Before Buying Your Historic Home Or Fixer-Upper

Important Questions To Answer Before Buying Your Historic Home Or Fixer-Upper by Home Style Austin

There’s no doubt that renovating a home can be a lucrative way to customize, restore and potentially profit. Encountering a “fixer-upper” sometimes happens naturally when living in the same house for many years … but often you may be considering buying a home in need of some improvements.

How well do you really know your potential property? Answering a few of my own home-grown questions may help you with your decision to buy – or run – from your potential new home purchase!

1. Do I love the house “as is” or do I plan on making upgrades?

Ahhh … this is perhaps the most important question of all!

Historic homes sometimes come fully restored and ready for move in. Other times they are hanging on for dear life and in dire need of some TLC. Home upgrades may require “sweat equity” (the physical labor you give to improve the home) or more often enhancements are made possible via cash injections. Knowing what investments you plan to make is the best way to manage the expectation of your future happiness.

Address questions from the big to the small, but important ~ Do I love the “bones” of the house? How’s the plumbing? Is there a garage? Do I get strong cell reception inside this home? Is this home all-electric, gas, or a mix of both? What cable or satellite programming options would I have? 

2. What’s my total budget? 

Answering question #1 above will help you answer this question. Knowing if – and what – improvements you plan to make will guide you into a total budget for your new home. Don’t underestimate how your budget will drive your decisions. My personal rule? Add a 20% buffer to what you plan to invest – not just financially, but emotionally as well.

What’s my list of must-have and my nice-to-have changes? Do I have bids or recent financial experience for the planned work? How will I finance all the work – all at once, or in future stages?

3. If I’m making upgrades can I live in the house while they’re being done?

Sometimes your upgrades are confined to one part of the home, like a spare bath. Other times they could be completely disruptive to daily living, like a complete kitchen “gut and renovation.” Know where you plan to live before starting work – even if it’s several months in advance and you’re planning ahead.

Am I moving into the house before work begins? Can I realistically relocate my family and pets to a temporary place? Am I emotionally up for a move – and potentially two monthly payments while the work is underway? How long will the renovation take to complete

4. Do I have an inspector skilled with older home inspections?

Partnering with a good inspector is as vital as having a good doctor. You probably don’t know this house very well so a third-party expert opinion can save you from making the biggest mistake of your life or helping you find your greatest house love. If you’re really concerned about the home, get two inspections from two different inspectors – compare the results and go into things eyes wide open.

Does this home have asbestos? What about lead based paint? Are there active termites or signs of prior termite damage? Does the sprinkler system work? How’s the foundation? Any signs of shoddy repairs?

5. What type of foundation does the home have?

Knowing the home’s foundation will guide future restoration decisions and help you know if your potential home is sound and sturdy. There are inspectors that specialize in foundation assessments and your Realtor® can help connect you with Austin’s reputable foundation repair companies.

Pier and beam foundations vs. slab foundations – which is better? What type of foundation does this home have? Does this home have a crawl space? Where is it? Are there any signs of prior foundation repair or existing foundation issues? 

6. Have I specifically addressed the age and condition of the home’s key systems?

What’s the home’s 30-second story regarding the condition of its roof, HVAC, insulation, windows and energy types (electric, gas, solar)? If you don’t know you owe it to yourself to find out. An appraiser can help you fill in the blanks.

How old is this home’s roof? How much longer might the water heater last? Does this home have an attic fan? Can I replace the electric range with a gas range? Would this home be a good candidate for a tankless water heater?

7. What’s the “effective age” of this home?

There’s actually a difference between the true age of a home and its effective age.

True age is the physical age of a home – kinda like it’s “human age” in years.

The “effective age” is how old the property “appears to be” compared to other properties. Because of updating and good maintenance, a house may appear to be younger than it actually is; it’s remaining life may be longer than other properties built about the same time, and the property may be worth more than properties built about the same time.

Has this home had any recent updates? Which ones? What things might need to be replaced next? Will this house likely be standing long after I plan to leave it?

8. Do I know the home’s typical utility consumption? 

This may seem like a minor question to ask. But if you’ve received $400+ monthly electric bills (I have), you’ll want to make sure you consider what your monthly utilities will cost on top of your mortgage payment. Your Realtor® can help you obtain this useful information.

How is this home heated? Do I know how much I may be spending for utilities in addition to my monthly mortgage payment? Can I comfortably afford this home’s utilities? How much might I be paying for air conditioning in the height of Austin’s summer or heating in the winter?

9. Is my home located in a historic district?

While the skyline of “Boomtown Austin” may make the city look relatively young, Austin actually boasts three historic districts, the most popular being Hyde Park. Living in a historic district has many advantages but also comes with a responsibility to educate yourself so you’re savvy and compliant with Austin’s older communities. You can learn more about Austin’s local historic districts at the City Of Austin’s Official Website … it’s loaded with useful information!

Is my home located in a historic district? Do I need a permit for my home improvement project? What might I “save” with Austin’s tax abatement program?

10. Will this home come with a home warranty?

In many cases home purchases can include a home warranty for the buyer. Knowing if you will receive a warranty can be helpful in the event things go wrong with the normal wear and tear of plumbing, electrical or appliances. Familiarize yourself with what the warranty covers – and more importantly what it does not cover.

Is the pool covered by the home warranty? Is there a trip fee for service calls? After my first year how much will the home warranty cost me each month if I decide to renew the plan?

I’ve owned and restored a 1920s Tudor home (shown above) and while it wasn’t always easy, it taught me many valuable life lessons about living in – and loving – an older home. Because of this I truly enjoy the energy I receive when helping my clients determine if a particular home is right for them.

Finding your next home is an adventurous journey that requires careful navigation. Reach out to me when you’re ready to pursue finding your next Austin home … and until then “live the great life” here in Central Texas!

~ Joe Paul ReiderJoe Paul Reider, Austin Keller Williams Realtor

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Email: JoePaul@KW.com
Mobile: 512.222.3302
Web: JoePaul.KWRealty.com