Quality of Life in Austin>Question Details

Lilihmartin, Home Buyer in Mountain Brook, AL

We are trying to decide where to relocate. I want to eventually buy a 4/3 with a pool in a good school district. We want to rent until our house

Asked by Lilihmartin, Mountain Brook, AL Sun May 23, 2010

sells so we need to find a rental with pool/pool acess and want to try so the kids won't need to change schools. I like Lake Travis/Hudson Bend area and My husband likes Westlake. He will be working Bee Cave/360 intersection. We made one visit and have another coming. Any insider thoughts?

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Austinarchitect’s answer
Eanes is the best school district in Austin. However, the houses tend to be really, really awful since the area wasn't significantly developed until the early 80's. There are some nice '50's houses on large lots in Rollingwood/Westlake Hills (seperate municipalities from Austin, but not really noticeable in terms of urban fabric), but they are very expensive. I really like the walkability of the area between 360 and Bee Caves around Walsh Tarleton, from these homes, all three public schools (elementary, middle, high school) are accessible by kids on foot, which is fantastic. If you shop hard, you can usually find a 2000 sf fixer-upper in this area (although rarely with a pool) for about $375K. I'm not sure if that would work for you, but the great thing about houses in this part of Eanes is that they hold their value even in bad markets, and in good ones, they appreciate faster than other areas of the city.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 7, 2010
I would love to show you around when you come to visit. If you like Hudson Bend, you may also like Steiner Ranch. There are some pretty fantastic homes, great schools, and even some waterfront properties.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 27, 2010
Lili, not really Real Estate related, but just read your last post and I grew up and my brother was born in Winter Park! Haven't heard that name for years. Also spent some time in Ft. Lauderdale. Hope all is well, Joe
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 27, 2010
Lili, that is a budget that can offer you choices in both areas. If you are not yet working with a Realtor, feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience and I will be glad to help you start the process. Also, if you do not yet have your house on the market/listed in Alabama, I have some fine listing agents in your area I would be happy to refer you to. I will do all I can to assist you!!
Joe (and I'd be glad to re-run the #'s, etc. that got deleted from my earlier answer for you as well!)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 26, 2010
Lili, I just checked back to see what others had recommended and I noticed about half of my answer (#5)disappeared. Technical glitch I imagine. Nevertheless, I had commented on differing appreciation %'s, taxes, commute times, etc. in the areas you mentioned, and the TEA and SchoolMatters.com sites as well. It seems like you got some really good info. so far. Please feel free to call on me if I may be of assistance. Joe
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 24, 2010
Most people like westlake but the budgte is usually lake travis. both are great areas.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 23, 2010
I would love to show you around when you come to visit. If you like Hudson Bend, you may also like Steiner Ranch. There are some pretty fantastic homes, great schools, and even some waterfront properties.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 27, 2010
Brass Buttons is in Apache Shores. An eclectic neighborhood. This street has its own private gated section with waterfront parcels. The homes themselves are not waterfront. This neighborhood does have a pool in it.
After having lived in Southern California, I do not think the traffic is that bad. You will not be going on MOPAC if you are in Lakeway and going to bee caves/360.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 27, 2010
Thanks for the continued advice. My home here is 3000 feet, ranch, 2-car garage, 1 acre. We live in Mt Brook which is ridiculously expensive as far as homes go (although once you're in the Tiny Kingdom, it is a quite pleasant lifestyle). We've lived in Winter Park Fl, Ft. Lauderdale, Mt. brook and now coming to Austin. All of those places, I purchased the nicest house I could afford in the most exclusive cities and have done well. But, then I had to renovate them (I'm a space/planner/designer). I have fought against the cookie cutter feeling of planned communities, but am wistful because it seems they have more to offer in the way of amenities then just random homes on streets. And we don't want to do any major remodeling anymore, except I would add a pool if we needed to. I saw this house for rent on Brass buttons trail but couldn't find a community pool near by like the listing said. It looked interesting surrounded by the water. Husband already freaking about traffic. Is it that bad?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 26, 2010
what's your home like in Alabama, Lili? That will give us an idea what you are looking for.
I assume you already have an Agent you are working with here in Austin, or do you?

Here is my Top 10 List of homes for you, each for different reasons (without knowing your style of course).
Web Reference: http://www.ShawnMon.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 26, 2010
With 3 kids and your Budget, I would go for lake travis ISD. You will be able to get your kids into great school, be in the hill country and have a nice home with a pool. ( very few at exist under 500K ...but we have some) In the Westlake area, chances are very unlikely for the house with the pool.
Contact me when you are ready.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 26, 2010
My price range is $450k to 500k but need to sell my house first. Thanks for all the input. I especially appreciate the tips on neighborhoods. I just need to spend some more time scouting around.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 26, 2010
The big question is what is your budget? Westlake is in the EANES school district. Eanes is considered the best in Austin. So, if you can afford Westlake, go for it. It is a closer communte and has the best schools.
BUT.....Lake Travis ISD ranks very high as well and stands right next to EANES in school scores. It is more affordable and perhaps you will get more bang for your buck. You may also get close to the lake which has more appeal to some people.
I'd love to help you. I can even give you lists of rental homes with pools in both area.
Contact me from my website: http://www.austinlakeandland.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 26, 2010
your comfortable price range will be your first and primary decision making guideline between these two areas (westlake and Lake Travis).

If you are at $1m+ comfortably, you can certainly land in westlake depending on your final criteria/needs, and of course you can get much more in Lake Travis for this range.

I know of a great 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath near Lake Travis right now that has a nice pool, good views of canyon/hill country with a peek at Lake Travis. It also has a 4-car garage and is in the $700K range.

What's your price range? If it falls under $500K, I can point you to a great alternative area as well...
Web Reference: http://www.ShawnMon.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 24, 2010
Dear Lili,
You have chosen two great places to live, both have many wonderful attributes. I would suggest you choose the school district and then look at homes that feed into those schools. You should take a look at http://www.SchoolMatters.com and see how the area schools perform.

Any Realtor can set up a lease search and later a residential purchase search on the MLS to show you homes that feed into these schools. Westlake can be out of range for many home buyers, as the homes are more expensive. I think Lake Point might be a good option as it is a little closer to downtown than Lakeway (which may be a consideration if your husband is commuting), It is still close to the lake and they have homes starting in the $300K's with pools as well as a lovely neighborhood pool and park close to the elemenatry.

If I can be of further assistance please let me know.
Web Reference: http://www.TeamPrice.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 24, 2010
I highly recommend googling the TEA (Texas Education Agency) website. It will give you detailed accountability results by school districts and campuses.
The fact that your husband will be working in that area, makes Eanes ISD attractive, depending on your priorities, like schools, budget and location you will have to make a decision due to the higher prices in that area. Although I have seen a lot of remodeled homes built in the 80's that are selling under $500k in that area, it may not have enough room for your familiy it just depends. I have clients in Lake Travis ISD and they love it, the drive is further west, and the lights do make commuting a bit of a challenge, but the new mall, retail and restaurants out there do make it easier to live in that area.
If you look at the TEA website and break it down by campus you will see that there are differences between Hudson Bend Elem. for example compared to Lake Travis Elem. Also if you compare Lake Travis ISD vs Eanes you will find some similarities so very comparable. Given that we are a non-income state tax state you will pay higher property taxes than you are used to from Alabama, my last clients from there are still complaining about high school taxes (they are lumped in together.) Hope that helps, so much more to cover but wanted to give you some more detail info.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 23, 2010
There have been some great comments here, but I want to add that you may want to check out the Cuernavaca area as well. Many of the homes are more affordable than the Westlake area, but it is still in the Eanes school district. Give me a call and I can show you around the next time you are in town.
Warm Regards,
Jen Butel
Web Reference: http://www.jenbutel.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 23, 2010
If you can afford Westlake, you can almost not go wrong there. One of the best school districts in the Austin area, close to downtown Austin and property retains its value well. For many years this has been one of Austin's most desireable areas.
Good luck,
Donovan White
The Live Well Downtown Team
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 23, 2010
Lili, Eanes and Lake Travis schools are both very highly rated. You may pay more for a home in Eanes, depending on size, location, etc. I often work with Relocation clients such as yourself and would be happy to assist you finding a lease home in an area you eventually want to purchase in. I would need to know more specifics, such as projected price range, style of home desired, etc. Feel free to click on my profile to the right, review my credentials, and contact me if you'd like some good, no cost Representation(assuming you do not yet have a written representation agreement with another Realtor yet). I am available 7 days a week as well. Thanks, Joe

Joe Jarusinsky, REALTOR/Master Instructor, Keller Williams Realty, Austin's #1 Real Estate Co. & ranked #1 by Buyers 2 years in a row! (JD Powers & Assoc.)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 23, 2010
I completely agree with Perry. The idea of Westlake is great until you see what you can get for your money. If money is not a problem I prefer Westlake. Chuck Wheeler Premier Realty 3401 Guadalupe Blvd
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 23, 2010

I'm a Realtor and have lived in the Austin area my whole life, so I have lots of insider tips for you. :) I have lived in Lakeway for the last 8 years and can tell you that the schools are terrific. My daughter attends Lakeway Elementary and we are very pleased with our experience. There are a few other great districts around Austin, but they all place emphsis (and funds) on different aspects of your child's education. Please give me a call/shoot me an email anytime and I'm happy to help. I can pull leases in areas that may be great for you to eventually purchase a home.

Jennifer Keefer
Capital City Sotheby's Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 23, 2010
I think you'll find Austin to be a good place to live. Both areas you mentioned are very good. I'd add Dripping Springs (area & ISD) & Steiner Ranch (subdivision)
If I can be of assistance to you feel free to call or email me directly.

Bill Austin
512-709-6343 ~ baustin.realtor@gmail.com
Prospect Real Estate Solutions
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 23, 2010
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