Most Austin residents rent rather than buy a property, and it makes sense for new arrivals to do so too, at least until they find their feet in the city.
There is a range of property options available, with more being built all the time. Once newcomers have narrowed down the search of preferred neighbourhoods, they should be able to find accommodation in Austin that meets their requirements and fits their budget.
Types of accommodation in Austin
The type of accommodation an individual or family chooses largely depends on where they intend to live in Austin, among other personal factors. Apartments and condos tend to be the most suitable for single professionals and young couples who wish to live close to the downtown area. The further one moves into the suburbs, the more spacious the properties are.
Apartment living is fairly common in areas close to downtown Austin. The size of apartments in Austin varies quite dramatically, but most are relatively modern. Apartments based in newer complexes generally come equipped with additional facilities such as security services and certain common spaces.
Condos are similar to apartments, but with a greater range of communal facilities on site. These complexes usually come equipped with shared facilities such as gardens, swimming pools, fitness centres and laundry facilities. A major advantage of condo living over apartments or standalone family homes is that they foster a greater sense of community within the complexes. This makes them a great option for newcomers to the city.
Townhouses are a fairly new development in Austin, which combines the independence of single-family residences with the low-maintenance lifestyle of a condo. These types of developments can commonly be found in the central and eastern parts of Austin as well as the quieter suburbs of the northwest.
The Craftsman bungalow is unique to the South. Dating back to the early/mid-20th century, these homes feature an open-plan design with easy flow between the living room, dining room and kitchen and a simple front porch. These properties make for great family homes.
Finding accommodation in Austin
Prospective residents planning their relocation to Austin should spend some time investigating their housing options online. Online property portals are a great starting point as they provide useful insight into the types of property available at various price points, so those unfamiliar with the city can get an idea of where they might like to live and how much they’ll need to budget.
When considering potential properties, it is important to consider various factors such as access to public transport, proximity to schools, places of work, local amenities and shopping hubs, as well as personal space requirements and lifestyle considerations.
Real estate agents based in Austin will also be able to guide new residents and advise on the suitable areas and suburbs of the city, which will make the process of finding a home that meets their own requirements much easier.
Renting accommodation in Austin
The housing market in Austin has continually grown over recent years to accommodate many new residents moving to the city. With new property developments regularly springing up in Austin, newcomers shouldn’t struggle to find a suitable rental home here.
Making an application
Potential tenants looking to rent a property in Austin will need to file an application either via an agent or by dealing directly with the landlord. Once the relevant checks have been done and references verified, the landlord and tenant can sign a lease agreement. Having a US bank account and social security number set up will speed up the process.
Rental contracts in Austin are generally valid for a year, with the option to renew once the initial rental term has ended. It is often possible to negotiate a shorter lease with the landlord, especially in parts of the city where demand for rental properties is lower.
Tenants in Austin are required to put down a security deposit, usually equal to a month’s rent, when signing a lease. This is refundable once the contract has come to an end. It is important to make sure a detailed inventory is carried out at the beginning and end of a rental period, as any damages will be deducted from the deposit.
Renters must read the terms of their lease carefully to determine which utilities are included. In some cases, landlords cover the costs of standard utilities such as gas, electricity and water. Tenants are usually expected to pay for extras such as internet, cable TV and telephone services.
►Learn about the best transport options available to residents on our Getting Around in Austin page
Are you an expat living in Austin?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Austin. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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