General Area in Austin>Question Details

Winansphd, Home Buyer in Austin, TX

Anyone have any recommendations for custom (non-spec) home neighborhoods in the 800K range?

Asked by Winansphd, Austin, TX Sun Feb 10, 2013

We are relocating to Austin (from Florida) and are looking for a new or new-ish custom 4 bed/4 bath/3 car garage with a pool for around 800,000 ish. The problem is, my husband really doesn't want a spec (he calls it cookie cutter) home, but I really want to be on a street with other homes/families. We've got kids so I've decided we need to be in Eanes, Lake Travis, or Leander ISD. Lakeway is nice and had lots in our price range, but hubs says that is too far (he works off of 183 in Austin). Any ideas?

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I see you have already received quite a few responses to your inquiry. Basically Eanes is going to be a difficult area to get a house w/pool in that price range and I do not believe there are any available right now, although inventory does change from day to day. River Place, Steiner Ranch, Westminster Glen, and a few other areas come to mind that might be a good solution for you, depending on where on 183 your husband works, and what other specific criteria you folks have.

If you're not yet working with a Realtor, I would be happy to talk with you and discuss assisting you one on one to find you just the right home in just the right neighborhood. I help families like you relocating to Austin on a regular basis, and work for the #1 rated Real Estate company in the US, Keller Williams Realty. and am also one of their top agents, and have negotiated over $900 million in sales in my career. Keller Williams Realty is also the #1 Real Estate company in Austin. I also have a great team of lenders, inspectors, title people, to assist us throughout the process, and do not charge anything for my extensive services.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience and I will be happy to see if I may be of further assistance. I work very hard seven days a week to make sure my clients get the service they deserve, and the best value for their dollar. I look forward to hearing from you.

Joe Jarusinsky, Realtor/Master Instructor, Keller Williams Realty, Austin's #1 Real Estate Company, Ranked #1 by Buyers and Sellers (JD Power & Assoc. 2012)
Call 512-261-4415
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 11, 2013
In Leander, I would recommend Grand Mess at Crystal Falls. I can suggest a few custom builders in the area, if you'd like.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2013
I know of build-on-your-own lots and know several custom home builders that can assist you in creating your perfect house within your price range.

Please call or email:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2013

Even if you're working with a relocation company, you have the choice of who you use as a broker to represent you. If you are not currently under an agreement to use a specific broker, I'd be happy to do so, without any obligation.


Jeffrey Schnabel
Broker | Partner | Keller Williams
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 11, 2013

While Eanes schools are the best in the area, your dollar does not go very far. $800K will not buy what I think you are looking for. As an example, without any adjustment to your search requirements, in all of Eanes, for a 4 bed, 4 full bath, 3-car garage home, without regard to age, size, location, nor any other criteria, there's only 1 home available for sale that meets your needs, with a list price of $900K or less, and it doesn't even have a pool. Shopping for $800Kish, would start with homes priced up to $900Kish, since they often can be negotiated at the level, even in this market.

River Place is a nice community, but it has to deal with only 2 ways to get to 183, down Ranch Road 2222, or up Ranch Road 620. 2222 in the morning will backup at the 360 interchange, sometimes for a mile. 620 is only slightly better in the morning, and both are very challenging on the return trip. Terrific neighborhood, not so good commute.

Crystal Falls is nice, lots of choices, but you still have to come down 183, get through the 620 interchange, and then deal with stop and go traffic to your husband's work location on 183. People do it, but I don't know anyone that likes it.

Great Hills and Spicewood At Balcones offer a short commute, several ways to get to 183, arguably schools on par with Eanes and Lake Travis ISD, close in to town and day to day conveniences, and a broad range of homes in the price range you're considering. But not a lot of "new" homes.

Be careful of buying new versus nearly new. Facts show that your new home loses about 7 to 10% of it's value the moment you turn the key. It goes from being a new home to a used home, and is then priced with all the rest of the "used" homes. The same amount of money invested in an existing home, compared to a new home, all other things being equal, will always be a better investment by a long shot.

One of the biggest factors I need to know is the minimum square footage requirements you have, and if the 4 bathroom requirement is for 4 full baths, or would 3 full and 1 half bath suffice. Let's presume for the moment that you want at least 4 bedrooms or more, at least 3 full baths, and 1 half bath minimum, that you prefer a 3,500 SF or larger home, with a pool, and at least a 3 car garage.

Here's the breakdown of how many homes fit your criteria, in each area, with a list price below $900K:

In all of the Austin area, there are 44 homes that meet all of the above criteria. But locating them in the schools districts you requested, adding in the Westwood High School area of Round Rock ISD, reduces that number to just 21 homes in the MLS (there are a few more not in the MLS that might be worth discussing). The locations break down as follows:

Eanes = 0
Lake Travis ISD = 7 (includes only those not to far west of Lakeway)
Leander ISD = 13 (3 in River Place, 4 in Steiner Ranch, 1 in south Cedar Park, 3 in the northern section of Cedar Park, and Leander, 1 in the Avery Ranch/Brushy Creek area).
Round ISD served by Westwood High School = 2

Those areas with higher counts will provide you more choices. But arguably, the area served by Westwood High School, is the shortest time to work, by far. The numbers above may increase in the coming months, depending on the number of homes coming on the market, an whether or not our strong seller's market allows the count of inventory to increase or not.

Here's a link to those homes listed above. Let me know if your square footage requirements, or bath count are different than presumed above. I'd look at the one home in Avery Ranch, on Avery Club Drive. Nice family oriented community, lots of amenities, schools are good, not as consistent as Eanes, Lake Travis ISD, nor the Westwood High School area, but still a strong educational experience.

I added 2 homes in the Greenshores area of Lake Austin, and 1 from the Bell Mountain area, although these 3 homes are served by Austin ISD. Nice homes though, and reasonable commute.

Call me to discuss.

Jeffrey Schnabel
Broker | Partner | Keller Williams
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 11, 2013
Westlake will be the best for you most likely...Eanes is an exemplary school district. I live in the area and know it very well. Let me give you a tour on your next visit and treat you to lunch! I actually have a listing that is about to go active that might fit your needs....

Randee Hainline
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 11, 2013
Yes, I agree with Gina on Riverplace!

Claire McIntyre, Architect / Real Estate Broker / Builder
512 699 9912
MMI McIntyre Associates
Real Estate Brokerage
McIntyre & McIntyre Inc
Architecture / Engineering
Project Management
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 11, 2013
Grand Mesa in Crystal Falls,
Waterford (in Lago might want to check out this school district as well)
River Place
Westminster Glen

River Place is probably my favorite neighborhood for relocating families in your price range. It keeps you close to Austin, convenient to both Lake Travis and Lake Austin, and excellent community involvement.

To give you an idea of what's available in the area. Here are a few homes available in River Place.…

Good luck,
Gina Nyland, REALTOR®, GRI, e-PRO
Co-Manager, Prudential Texas Realty (Cedar Park Office)
The Nyland Team
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 11, 2013
Hello Winansphd,

Those are all good areas you mentioned. I would need a little more information to narrow it down.

One area I would add is the Austin area Round Rock ISD schools. Specifically Spicewood at Balcones area near 183 & Anderson Mill Rd, 78750 zip. IB schools and a great family neighborhood. - parents walking their kids to school or taking them in golf carts. Larger lots and big trees. These are older homes but are being remodeled to be new again. I've done several myself. Great bang for the buck in an area that will continue to appreciate and be sought after. In my humble opinion.

However, it really depends on where on 183 your husband will be working (north or south). If it's north 183 then I would stick with that corridor which would be the Austin area Round Rock school or Leander ISD.

A subdivision in Leander schools that pops into my mind is The Ranch at Brushy Creek. Some new builds as well as a few resales in that area.

Lakeway has some good inventory stock and neighborhoods. Traffic is certainly a concern on 620 and that will add a lot to commute time. Also, if your husband has to drive from Eanes are north on Mopac or Capital of Texas Hwy (loop 360) the traffic is bad there too during peak hours.

As a Broker, Architect, Builder I bring a different perspective. I represent buyers and sellers on new homes, existing homes and if desired, remodel work.

Claire McIntyre, Architect / Real Estate Broker / Builder
512 699 9912
MMI McIntyre Associates
Real Estate Brokerage
McIntyre & McIntyre Inc
Architecture / Engineering
Project Management
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 11, 2013
With custom homes, you can pick any area you pretty much want to live in. Because your home is going to be non-spec, you get to choose how much you want to spend on land, and then how much you want to put into the home.

The three school districts you have picked are more to the west of Austin, and cover a big portion of the area between the city and the lakes. Of course the schools are outstanding.

But there are a lot of different areas.

Ideally I'd like a bit more info about your lifestyle, where your husband works, and a few other factors before I can accurately recommend an area, or even a builder.

Feel free to give me a call

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 11, 2013
To add to my previous comment;
Also you might consider another option. When I moved here from California, I have purchased my home at that time and directly moved into it. I like Lakeway and its community and enjoy living here. I have many clients that they moved into Austin from East or West coast and more than few of them, Leased a luxury home for a year in their FIRST desired area. Then during that year got to know the Austin and they made their final decision on the location, Builders, etc…

Moe Paknia
Broker Associate
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 11, 2013
I think Eanes is going to be the best solution. Great school district, not a bad commute for your husband, and close to a lot of great activities in Austin.

Please feel free to contact me anytime for a no obligation consultation. There is also a quick link on the bottom of my home page for all available listings in Eanes ISD.


Steven Nusinow
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 11, 2013
Hi Winansphd,

183 is a long road, it would help to know specifically where he works on 183 to better answer your question. Does he have to be at his place of work 5 days a week, or will he be traveling out of town? Or possibly be able to tele-commute 1 or more days a week? All of these will make a difference in dealing with the commute, which can be terrible at times.

It will also depend on whether he has any flexibility in the time he arrives to work, or returns home.

You might think Leander ISD would be a good location if he works along the northern sections of 183, but my guess is that he works south of 620, likely between IH35 and 620. The commute in from Leander ISD to this part of 183 can be a challenge, because you simply don't have a great deal of choices, you travel south on 183, or take 45 to Mopac and come in on Mopac. Both get backed up quite a bit in the morning.

The 183 Toll road (a portion of 183 that is new) can relieve some of the traffic issues, but only to the 620 intersection going south.

While I like Lakeway a lot, it's simply too far to commute to 183 every day. It will be years-and-years before they improve 620 traffic congestion into and out of Lakeway. Some might recommend going further east to Steiner Ranch, but that still has to deal with 620, the only way to get to 183.

Don't rule out Round Rock ISD, at least not the western section. They have schools on par with Eanes and Lake Travis ISD at all levels, in areas like Great Hills, and Spicewood at Balcones, although a new or newer home in this area will be a rarity. This would be the shortest commute with the best schools.

Here's a link to a home that seems to meet some of your criteria, definitely not your typical cookie cutter home, and it is served by nationally acclaimed Westwood High School, and exemplary rated elementary and middle schools.

I'm looking at this from a buyer's agent representative, and not the listing agent for the home. I can send you more info on this home, and others like this one. Call me, email, or text me for more info.

Jeffrey Schnabel
Broker | Partner | Keller Williams
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2013
Thank you everyone for the replies! My hubs works right near the 183/I35 intersection.
Flag Mon Feb 11, 2013
Your best bet for a custom home that meets your criteria is certain areas near Steiner Ranch and in Leander School District. The homes would be most easily accessible to 183 and would give you the best overall location. Lake Travis is probably too far away in most circumstances and the market in Eanes for custom homes that meet your specs is very limited. The Austin market has relatively low inventory right now but as we get into spring it will open up a bit but is expected to remain tight.

Happy to set you up to receive all the homes that meet your criteria in your desired areas and then help you understand what will likely be the best fit. Let me know if you would like to discuss any of this.

Cynthia Carlisle
RE/MAX Metro Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2013
At this time, there are 8 homes which match your search criteria in Lake Travis ISD, 8 homes in Leander ISD (mainly Steiner Ranch), and no homes in Eanes. While Eanes would be the closest to Austin, it's also one of the most expensive areas in Austin. There are two homes in Eanes district with a pending contract, so there are homes which match your criteria, just not on the market right now. I'd be happy to set up a search for you so you can get the most up to date listings. We can also discuss a time frame and little bit more about the different areas.

Please call or e-mail me if you'd like to me to help you. I live in the Lake Travis area, but am also close to West Austin.

Anna Culina, REALTOR
Keller Williams Lake Travis
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2013
My name is Moe Paknia and I live in Lakeway. There are great options in Eanes and Lake Travis schools. Also I'm very familiar with several custom home builders and planed comunity areas that you can custom build.
Please contact me at 512-468-8788, it would my pleasure to assist you with your famy's move to Austin.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2013
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