What You Need to Know About Relocating to Austin

Many cities boast of their diversity, but Austin, Texas takes it to a new level. The nearly 980,000 residents of Austin (known as “Austinites”) include high-tech and blue collar workers, college students, musicians, and government employees. Austin is the state capital of Texas, as well as home to dozens of colleges (including the renowned University of Texas), so 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 headquarter buildings has come to be known as “Silicon Hills.” The cost of living is 3% lower than the national average, but habitation in Austin is at a premium due to high demand, resulting in slightly higher housing costs.

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 is often hailed as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” thanks in large part to its award-winning Austin City Limits broadcast and musical festival. Austin is also home to 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.

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

A : This is a big one. We actually only know availability and pricing 60 days out, and while we can definitely start narrowing down potential neighborhoods and apartments, we won’t truly be able to start the search process until we’re 60 days away from move in!

Q : 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?

A : No worries! All of our agents offer video/facetime tours so you can actually see where you’ll be living. Leasing a unit sight unseen can be stressful, we like to send videos so you know if that closet will fit all of your shoes, or if that particular unit has a wine rack. We love wine.

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

A : 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, best bars to meet new people, and definitely our favorite restaurants. We’re foodies around here.

Q : What neighborhood should I live in?

A : This one is actually tough because there are so many different neighborhoods that we love!! But ultimately there are a lot of other factors that include your budget, work location, etc. that can determine which neighborhood is best for you! But don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the process for sure.

Q : How do I set up electricity/utilities?

A : A lot of cities have only one electricity service, Austin is one of them! City of Austin Utilities is where you’ll get set up with electricity. Also, most properties offer AT&T or Time Warner (Spectrum) for cable/internet. We dig Time Warner for internet, if we had to choose. It sucks the least, haha. Some areas have Google Fiber, which we’ve heard is the best!

Q : What movers should I use?

A : We always tell people to check Yelp reviews for movers, and your specific agent can give you a couple of potential movers that we’ve had good experiences with in the past!

Q : What are my transportation options?

A : Austin has a metro rail that goes into Downtown, as well as buses. We know of plenty of Austin apartments that are within walking distance to a metro station if you’re not planning on bringing a car. But we will definitely suggest a car, only because Austin is pretty spread out. Everything is bigger in Texas. And heads up, Austin finally got Uber and Lyft back in town!

Q : Are pets allowed?

A : Austin is SUUUUUPER dog friendly. Our owner’s dog comes to our office every day. There are tons of bars and restaurants that allow dogs on their patios as well. Almost all of the apartments allow non-aggressive dogs as roommates (with a deposit), and some have dog parks, green areas, and even small yards. If you have an “aggressive” breed (we use quotations because we know your pit bull is sweet, our office husky is the sweetest) then your options will be more limited, but they still exist. Contact us and we can give you the details on what to expect and different options.

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

A : 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 months 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 it’ll be a bit more.

Q : Fridge, Microwave, Parking?

A : 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.

Q : Do you offer furnished and/or short term leases?

A : We’ve partnered with Nickson Living to help furnish apartments through furniture rentals instead of having to purchase everything!

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 worth it to just do a year lease and save the money!

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