What You Need to Know About Relocating to Austin

Austin is not simply the capital of Texas — it also holds the title of “Live Music Capital Of The World” thanks to its vibrant festivals and solid venue scene. Home to dozens of colleges (including the renowned University of Texas), it would stand to reason that government and education are two driving industries in the city. However, many people are now moving to Austin because of its burgeoning tech industry. Major players like Google, Facebook, and PayPal are based in Austin, and the cluster of HQ buildings has come to be known as “Silicon Hills.” The cost of living is 3% lower than the national average, but real estate prices in Austin are rapidly climbing as its popularity increases.

Austin apartment pool
Austin at a Glance

Austin has gained a quirky reputation and, to their credit, they have leaned into it. The city’s unofficial motto for the past 20 years has been, “Keep Austin Weird.” The city plays host to Austin City Limits Festival and South by Southwest (“SXSW”), a 10-day annual festival that celebrates music, film, and tech. Austin also features a remarkably diverse food scene, with small, locally-owned restaurants (and food trucks) taking precedence over national chains. Summers are hot by national standards, but surprisingly moderate by Texas standards, thanks in part to the rolling hills that surround the city. Winters are typically sunny and mild, with a “violet crown” of light gliding over the hills during the evening.

Austin apartment living
Best Places to Live in Austin

Austin has consistently been named one of the best places to live by U.S. News & World Report and currently holds the #3 spot on the list. With so many people relocating to Austin, housing prices tend to run a bit high and finding a place to live might pose a bit more of a challenge than usual. To get a feel for Austin’s various neighborhoods and communities, visit our Austin Neighborhoods page. And when the time comes to begin your apartment search in earnest, Smart City Locating is ready to step in and help.

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I need to move to Austin 5 months from now, are you guys able to help?

While you can narrow down potential neighborhoods and apartment complexes ahead of time, properties typically don’t provide updated availability until 60 days out from your move-in date.

What do I do if I have to move in and start work by a certain date, but I’m not able to visit Austin beforehand?

No worries! Leasing a unit sight unseen can be stressful — photos don’t always do apartments justice. Our agents are happy to do a detailed video walkthrough or FaceTime tour so you feel 100% confident about where you’ll be living.

What if I am coming to Austin for only one or two days to look at apartments?

This is our full-time job, and all of our agents work pretty much all the time. If you’re coming in on a Saturday, just let your agent know and we can have updated availability and pricing for you to look over before you come. We love touring out-of-towners because we get to show off how much we love this city. We can show you the different neighborhoods, the best bars to meet new people, and all of our favorite restaurants — we’re foodies around here!

What neighborhood should I live in?

There are a ton of factors that go into choosing the perfect neighborhood like budget, work location, and lifestyle. Browse through our neighborhood guides to get a feel for the city, and definitely ask your agent for recommendations!

How do I set up electricity/utilities?

A lot of cities make it easy for you by having only one electricity service, and Austin is one of them! City of Austin Utilities is where you’ll get set up with electricity. Also, most properties offer AT&T, Time Warner (Spectrum), and Google Fiber for cable/internet.

What movers should I use?

We recommend (and can get you discounts with) a number of both national and local movers! Check out our partners on our Smart City Connect page.

What are my transportation options?

While it’s easiest to get around Austin by car (it’s nothing but highway out here), there is also a metro rail and buses that go into Downtown. If you’re not planning on bringing a personal vehicle, have your agent find properties walkable to the metro rail!

Are pets allowed?

Austin is SUUUUUPER dog friendly. There are tons of patio bars and restaurants that welcome furry friends. Almost all properties allow non-aggressive dogs as roommates (with a deposit), and some come with amenities like dog parks and grooming stations.

If you have an “aggressive” breed (we use quotations because we know your pit bull is sweet) then your options will be more limited, but they still exist. Contact us and we can give you the details on what to expect!

What do deposits and upfront costs look like for renting in Austin?

We love telling people who move from big cities like New York or LA about deposits here in Austin. They usually range anywhere from $0-400. Sometimes higher if there are credit issues, but no apartment requires first and last month’s rent, which is awesome. Some apartments will even give you a month of free rent! You will also pay an application fee of $0-100 and an admin fee of $0-300. We’re pretty good at finding deals though, you shouldn’t expect to pay more than $500 for move-in costs with good credit. If you have a pet, your deposit will be a bit more.

Fridge, Microwave, Parking?

All apartments in Austin come with a fridge, and MOST come with a microwave. Your agent will be able to tell you if it doesn’t come standard! Parking is usually included unless it’s a downtown property or if you have specific requests.

Do you offer furnished and/or short term leases?

We’ve partnered with CORT to provide our clients the option to rent furniture instead of outright purchasing everything. Get 50% off your first month when you use the code SMARTCITY50!

As for short-term leases, the minimum lease term we work with is 6 months, but pricing is usually MUCH higher for short-term leases — sometimes double the price. We always tell people that if they’re planning on moving here for at least a year, it’s well worth it to sign on for a 12-month lease to save money.

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