Step by Step Guide to Relocating to Austin

Relocating to a new city can be an overwhelming task. We know, we made the move from San Francisco to Austin about 6 years ago. Ideally you’d take several trips to your new city to get to know the place and find out exactly where you want to live. Realistically, though, that probably won’t happen. Our lives are busy and money is limited. To help guide you through the relocation process, save you time and money, we’ve put together this step by step guide to relocating to Austin.

step by step guide to relocating to austin

Step 1: Research Austin Neighborhoods

For people who are getting relocated with a company, this part is a bit easier because you know where you’ll work and can focus your search around neighborhoods with an acceptable commute. Though traffic in Austin is nothing compared to traffic in LA, you’ll still want to pay attention to things like which roads you’ll be taking to work and how long it will take you to travel each way. (Hint: 35 is always a bad choice – especially during commute hours) We’ve put together several one-click searches near Austin’s top employers, so feel free to start there. If you don’t see your company on the list, email us with your company’s name and address at and we can set one up for you.

How to Research: Home Searches Near Top Austin Employers.

If you’re moving to Austin without a job, or can work from home, or just have the flexibility to choose exactly where you want to live, that can be a monumental task as the Austin area is huge – and getting bigger. The good news? Austin and the surrounding cities are very different in terms of topography, amenities, look and feel. Usually people are drawn to one area over the others, so it makes the choice easy. Our Austin Neighborhood and City Guides can help you drill down further.

How to Research: Use our Austin Neighborhood Guides. Here are some tips for How to Research an Austin Neighborhood.

Need a cheat sheet? Check out our list of Best Austin Neighborhoods to Live.

Step 2: Contact an Austin Realtor

An Austin Realtor who is knowledgeable about the real estate market, neighborhoods and relocation process can save you a lot of time right off the bat. We work with people who are several months away from their move and help them narrow down their search criteria so they don’t spend weeks they don’t have focusing on places they aren’t going to like when they see it in person. If you give us an idea of what you’re looking for (price range, type/size of house, company/industry you work in (to help us narrow down geography), where you’re coming from, and any other pertinent info), we can recommend areas you can start your search.

Remember, working with an Austin Realtor costs buyers nothing! Our fee is paid by the seller. So, there is really no excuse not to reach out. Scared of getting pressured or hundreds of emails asking you when you’re ready to buy? You don’t have to worry about that with us. We’ll move as fast as you want to move and act as a resource, not a nuisance.

Here are some tips for What to Look for in a Realtor When Relocating to Austin.

To get started, head over to our Austin Relocation Survey and let us know what you are looking for and one of our relocation specialists will contact you to discuss how we can help. Have a question or prefer to speak to someone first? Email us at or call us at (512) 827-8323.

Step 3: Get Pre-Approved by an Austin Mortgage Broker

This is the step most people miss. If you need to get a loan to purchase a home in Austin, you should talk to an Austin mortgage broker early in the process. One of the big myths we hear is getting pre-approved too early will hurt your credit. That’s simply not true. The credit monitoring bureaus understand finding a house can take months. A good mortgage broker can help you determine the best loan program for your situation and help you determine how best to approach the home buying process during your move (there are certain rules you need to follow, or your loan will be denied). They can also explain Austin’s property taxes (which are higher than most other cities) and HOA dues and how they impact what you can afford.

We have a couple of great mortgage brokers we can refer you to. Simply email us at or call us at (512) 827-8323 and we can get you their contact info.

Step 4: Prioritize Your Housing Wants and Needs

Once you know exactly how much you can afford, it’s time to prioritize what’s important to you in terms of the house you want to buy. Are schools important? Is commute time a factor? Can you afford homes you like where you are looking? Are you taking your long term needs into consideration? Do you want to be in an urban or suburban area? Do you need to be able to walk to shops and restaurants?

These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself to help you determine what is most important in your house hunt. Sometimes these answers can help further narrow down areas of focus and will help you make the best home buying decision.

Need help determining your priorities? We can help you think through the process. Our Austin Relocation Survey is a great place to start. Prefer to speak to us directly? Call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us.

Step 5: Narrow Down Austin Neighborhoods and Areas

At this point, it is time to start narrowing down areas. This is a key step to get straight before you take a trip to Austin so you don’t waste time on areas that just won’t work for you. Make a list of the Top 5-10 neighborhoods from favorite to least favorite. Our recommendation would be to start exploring the neighborhoods you like most first. Then when you can’t find something you like there, keep going down your list until you do. Even though the Austin real estate market is booming, you can usually still find homes in your top neighborhoods, so why settle before you have to?

Still not quite sure you have a handle on the areas? Our Austin Neighborhood Finder is a great tool for you.

Step 6 Get Set Up on an Email Home Search

Once you’ve come up with your top neighborhoods list, ask your Realtor to set you up on an email home search so you don’t have to waste time searching every single day. We set up each neighborhood in a separate search so you don’t get confused.

Ready for an email search? Email us and we’ll get it set up for you.

Step 7: Schedule a Neighborhood Scouting Trip to Austin

At this point, you probably have a good handle on which areas might work for you. Now, it’s time to check them out in person. The goal of this first trip is simply to rule in or rule out neighborhoods, not to necessarily find a home. Driving through each neighborhood and looking at a few houses in your price range will give you a good indication whether or not you want to keep this neighborhood on the list, or if you want to rule it out completely.

This neighborhood scouting trip is a crucial part of the process and one that shouldn’t be ignored. Investing a little time and money at this point in the process could mean the difference in liking or not liking the place you live.

Contact us to let us know when you’re planning your trip. We’ll show you around the area and help you narrow down your favorite neighborhoods.

Step 8: Don’t Forget to Make Time for Exploring Austin

Let’s face it, looking at home and neighborhoods all day can get pretty exhausting. Make sure you carve out some time to visit some of Austin’s sights, eat from a food truck, check out 6th Street or relax at the Lake. Doing something fun during your visit may help ease the stress of the move and help you realize Austin is not too different from the city you are leaving.

Not sure what to do? Here is a list of the Top 10 Things to Do on Your First Visit to Austin. You can also check out the Austin Visitors Guide for even more to keep you busy while you’re here.

Step 9: Finalize Your List of Favorite Neighborhoods

When you see the neighborhoods in person, you’ll be surprised how easy this step becomes. Make notes while you are looking so you remember what is what. After looking at 20 homes in 8 neighborhoods, they start to run together, especially when you aren’t familiar with the area.

Then, make a list of your favorites and have your Realtor adjust your home searches. With a picture of what each neighborhood looks like, you’ll be able to focus on finding the home you like.

Step 10: Find a House and Move

Sounds easy, right? Though its not “easy” (especially not the actual moving part), we can help make the relocation process as easy as it can be. We’ve been in your shoes, so we know the answers to the questions you have, even if you don’t know to ask them. We also have spent months learning the Austin area and know it better than most locals. If you are considering a move to Austin, email us at or call us at (512) 827-8323, no matter how early in the process you are. We’ll put together a tailored, step by step program designed for your specific move.

Here are some Tips for Tackling Your Home Search When Relocating and Tips for Overcoming the Distance Disadvantage.

Considering a Move to Austin?

Check out our Austin Relocation Blog, our Guide to Relocating to Austin and our Tips for a Successful Relocation Experience for more tips. Then check out our Austin Home Buyers page to learn why we are the best Realtors to help you relocate to Austin. When you’re ready to reach out, fill out our Relocation Survey, send us an email or call us at (512) 827-8323 to schedule a no obligation consultation.

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