Three issues will powerfully impact how satisfied you are living in a home and how much you can sell it for when you are ready to move. Not many Austin home buyers spend too much time researching these issues. Ignore these important issues and you might find yourself in a home you no longer enjoy living in or a home you can’t sell. Here are three things you should not forget to investigate before you sign on the dotted line.
#1 Public School Performance
Even if you don’t have school aged children, the performance rating of the local school – in particular elementary and middle school – greatly influences a home’s value and desirability. Most home buyers will pay a premium to enroll their children in a top-rated school. Even in declining markets, neighborhoods served by a superior school system will hold their values better than neighborhoods with inferior schools. In Austin, there is a close correlation between higher home prices and higher school ratings. Owning a home in a community with top-rated schools which are bolstered by strong parental support safe guards the value of your investment.
#2 Property Taxes
Because Texas has no state income tax, property tax is the largest source of funding for local services, such as public schools, city streets, county roads, utility infrastructure, police, fire protection, hospitals and community colleges. Property taxes are based on the assessed value of the property. For example, the property tax on a vacant lot assessed at $10,000 is ten times as much as one valued at $1,000. Your local officials determine the assessed value your property, set your tax rates, and collect your taxes. However, state law governs how the process works. In order to know the actual tax rate of a given piece of property one must know which districts the property is located within. This is not all that difficult to find out by using the County Appraisal District (CAD) office and the address of the property. However, due to the nature of the property tax system, a house a few miles down the street might have a different tax rate due to which districts it is actually located in.
Tip: Compare the property tax rate of each property before buying to avoid a very costly surprise. Here’s how to easily find How Much Property Taxes are in Austin and here are the Austin Neighborhoods with the Lowest Tax Rates.
#3 Water Availability and Quality
There is a growing gap between the supply and demand for water in Texas. While the state as a whole is recovering from the paralyzing, record drought of 2011, we are clearly not out of danger. Water availability, water quality and the lack of a prudent water plan will continue to be issues of supreme importance to every Texan. If you are considering buying a home, check out the water supply and availability in the neighborhood. Determine for yourself how a potentially debilitating water shortage, rationing and/or moratorium on new water service hook-ups may affect you, your family and your life style.
Tip: Check out water supply and availability in the areas you are considering.
Looking for Other Insider Austin Home Buying Tips?
With a combined 60+ years of experience, we’ve helped thousands of buyers purchase homes. In that time, we’ve experienced just about everything that can happen in a real estate transaction. We know what to look for, what professionals to call and how to evaluate Austin real estate. For more info about our experienced team of buyer’s agents check out our Austin Home Buyer section. Then, call us at (512) 827-8323, email us at info@11OaksRealty.com or fill out our Buyer Survey to get started.