It may be an understatement, but people are moving to Austin - lots of people.
The area has a perpetual allure that draws more and more families from across the country to call Austin their home.
As the basic laws of supply and demand would predict, our popularity has resulted in years of appreciating real estate values. For those in the market to live in or around downtown Austin, these growing home costs come with clear pros and cons.
In one regard, appreciating values mean a healthy real estate investment opportunity. On the other hand, rising costs mean there’s a growing financial barrier of entry for families in the market to buy central properties.
This barrier of entry has added to the growing trend of purchasing Austin condos. By investing in condos instead of houses, many exchange square footage for the luxury of buying newer homes in more central locations. Also, Austin condos are often synonymous with newer utilities and exclusive residential amenities like workout rooms and swimming pools.
If you want to live close to your downtown office and have the ability to walk to SXSW or ACL every year, condo living might be the way to go. Investors looking for competitive leasing space should consider the premium leasing potential that comes with offering tenants a central condo in one of America’s most loved cities.
For old and new Austinites in the market for affordable condominiums, here are some things to consider during your Austin condo search:
Get comfortable, here’s how to prepare for your move to Texas:
What Is A Condo?
Real estate is a huge industry with diverse offerings. Sometimes people get a little lost in the jargon. Here’s a quick definition:
Condo: A multi-unit building with a deed that can be divided to sell individual units to different buyers.
In other words, there are condos of almost every style home you can imagine. They include luxurious, high-rise apartments as well as quiet duplexes in the suburbs, with many floorplans in-between.
Determine Whether A Specific Condo Fulfills What You’re Looking for In A Home
Home satisfaction has a lot to do with how much that property suits your individual needs and goals. As earlier defined, condos come in many shapes and sizes. Some are very similar to houses, while others reflect the style of an apartment.
Consider your ideal lifestyle. If you enjoy hosting lavish parties with lots of friends and family, make sure easy parking is accessible and that plenty of communal space is available within the home.
Does home utility mean a lot to you? If so, many condos are suited with homeowner association (HOA) benefits like gym access, lawn care, community tennis courts, and much more.
Since condos are multi-unit buildings, living close to your neighbors is inevitable. For people used to apartment living, you already know many of the drawbacks and virtues of this proximity.
For others, it’s worth doing some research and careful self-assessment to determine what level of living density makes you most comfortable and happy.
Are Condo HOAs (Home Owner Association) Worth It?
Many condos are situated with HOA (Home Owner Association) responsibilities. Before purchasing an Austin condo, consider carefully if HOA responsibilities, benefits, and fees are right for you.
Families with tight monthly budgets may be deterred by the added cost of HOA fees. If money is a concern, HOA fees should be measured realistically in regard to your income and existing expenses.
On the other hand, HOAs can provide generous and exclusive amenities that make your condo that much more luxurious and enjoyable. These amenities can be some of the biggest selling points of some condos. They make life simpler and, depending on the amenities available, may guarantee more privacy for often-crowded activities like swimming or working out at a gym.
HOAs can also alleviate many responsibilities like cleaning, lawn care, and more!
Investors have one additional HOA restriction to consider.
Many HOA agreements prohibit condo owners from leasing out their units. If your plan is to buy-and-lease your condo, read the fine print and ask the HOA office if tenant leasing is available. Any buyer hoping to use AirBnb for a side income should also consider these potential restrictions. Some HOA agreements might even allow one rental type while refusing the other, so learn the laws before you purchase.
Have Condos Professionally Inspected Before You Purchase
When you find and fall in love with a condo in Austin, hire a Texas home inspector to provide a clear, unbiased report about the condition of the home. Investing a few hundred dollars to have a condo properly inspected can save condo owners thousands of dollars in future expenses, assuming critical flaws are discovered.
While most of us would have no trouble finding cosmetic damage to a home, it’s worth remembering that damage to paint, counters, and windows are the easy--and usually least expensive--things to catch. Inspectors are trained to catch the more expensive problems that also tend to be harder to find.
Real estate is a large investment. At the very least, hiring an inspector before a purchase can give homebuyers the peace of mind that they deserve as they move forward with their exciting new purchase.