When you’re looking to buy a new home, you’ll want to gather as much information about a particular neighborhood as possible. The more you can learn about the neighborhood before you buy, the higher the likelihood you’ll enjoy living there for longer.
We’ve put together a guide to help you research Austin area neighborhoods. Here are a few ideas as to how to research an Austin neighborhood.
Read Neighborhood Guides
The easiest first step would be to head over to our Austin Neighborhood Guides and read what we’ve written. We have hundreds of guides and they cover everything from types of homes and nearby shopping to schools and topography.
Looking to shortcut to the best neighborhoods in Austin? Check out our Best Austin Neighborhoods for lists of the best neighborhoods for kids, dogs, young professionals, retirees and more.
The next step would be to get someone else’s opinion. Google is great for this. Google the name of the neighborhood as well as many variations (neighborhood + homes, living in neighborhood, etc) and start reading. Remember to check dates for when each article or blog post was written and look for the more recent information. If you have questions, try contacting the authors.
Once you’ve identified the neighborhood and where it is, head over to Google Maps and start using it to explore the area. This is an easy way to find out what grocery stores, gyms, and other amenities are nearby. You can also use Google Street View to get a better sense for the neighborhood’s feel. Keep in mind, in transitioning neighborhoods, Google Street View might lag what you’ll see when you drive through it.
Schools should be a very important piece of your research, even if you don’t have kids. Historically, homes in better school districts have held their value better than homes in inferior school districts.
Read Local Papers
Local papers are the best way to find information about a neighborhood. They only report local stories. The best places to search for these would be to either Google the city or neighborhood name + newspaper or to simply visit a local library or grocery store and look for where they keep their newspapers. Community Impact is a popular Austin area local newspaper that’s divided into different areas of town. The Austin Business Journal is more appropriate for economic news.
Research Crime Statistics
Check out information put out by the local police department and find out what types of crimes have occurred in the past several months. If you have questions or concerns, head into the police department and ask.
Post Questions on Online Forums
There are several online forums (Quora, Yahoo Answers, City-Data) where you can post questions. Ask readers why they like living in a neighborhood or any other specific questions you have. Or, search these forums and see what’s been written already.
Attend an HOA Meeting
For neighborhoods that have an active Homeowner’s Assocation (HOA), attend a meeting. You’ll get first hand information about anything the HOA is concerned about or discussing. It will also give you a chance to meet the residents.
Drive the Neighborhood
If you’re local, drive around the neighborhood during all times of the day and night. Then, park your car and walk. Experience everything about the neighborhood. Do you feel safe? Would you feel comfortable walking with your kids at night?
Ask the Neighbors
Knock on a few doors and explain you’re looking at moving into the neighborhood and ask them how they like it. You’d be surprised how much info you can get from neighbors and how friendly Austin residents are.
Ready to Get Started on Your Austin Home Search?
Our team of buyer specialists have helped many families buy a house in the Austin area. We know Austin better than any other Realtor and can help you find the perfect neighborhood for you and your family. With a combined $200MM+ of real estate sold, we know how to get buyers the best deals, even in competitive markets. Learn more about who we are and how we work at our Austin Home Buyers Guide. Then call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us at info@11OaksRealty.com to schedule a no obligation consultation.