Julia’s Guide to Buying a New Construction Home in Austin

Photo: Riley Blanks

We asked one of our recent clients, Julia Toro, to tell us a little bit about herself and her home buying experience. She shed some light on buying a new build in Austin, and what it was like to work with the Open House Austin team.

Through Julia’s insight, we can see the process of a 20-something navigating the buying world in Austin, and the steps it took her to achieve this momentous purchase. Not only is it totally achievable — but it can be really fun!

Interested in learning more about buying your own house in Austin? We’d love to see you at one of our workshops or let’s set up a call!

How long have you lived in Austin? About a year and a half!

When did you buy your home and how old were you? I was 26.

Was this your first home purchase? Yes!

What industry do you work in? I’m a copywriter.

What do you love about living in Austin? Oof! Where do I begin. Doggies everywhere. Great work/life balance. Easy access to nature. Exciting entrepreneurship scene (especially for women!). I’ve met some of the most incredible people here. Everyone’s so friendly! You can blink at someone at a coffee shop and end up exchanging numbers.

What part of town did you buy your home in and why? I bought in Montopolis because it was affordable for me and it’s slotted to experience growth in the next decade.

What type of property did you buy? New build!

How many bed/baths & sqft? 2/2, just under 1,000 sqft.

What year was it built? 2019.

Tell us a little bit about your home buying journey. Why did you decide to buy, a bit about your process, how many homes did you see before finding the one? I’d been saving up money for months, and had been told it takes a really long time to find *the one*. One day I randomly had the urge to start browsing for houses. I sent some links to Steph and we toured 3 houses that Saturday. I ended up putting an offer on the second one we saw, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Who did you talk to before buying a house? What research did you do? I’m part of a group called Factora, which is a company that teaches women financial fundamentals through education and community. I’d just finished their course, called the Wealth Circle, and had been chatting for weeks with so many other female homeowners. That was my primary source of information and inspiration! I learned that you didn’t have to put 20% down, that my house should be making money for me while I live there, and that I was closer to a down payment than I thought.

What did you find was the most important factor that helped you most prepare for the home buying process? Automating savings every month for my down payment!

What advice do you have for people like yourself who are about to start the home buying process for the first time? 1. Find a realtor that invests in real estate! They’ll have the best, most creative ideas about the right space for you.

2. Decide for yourself what your strengths and weaknesses are and create a plan that aligns accordingly. (For example, a lot of people in the real estate community talk about the Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat strategy, which involves a lot of hands-on renovation. I knew I didn’t want to do that, so I went with a new build).

3. Listen to your gut! When you walk into a house, you might get a whole-body feeling. Or a whole-body feeling. Those are important!

What has been the most rewarding part about being a homeowner? Is there anything you dislike? I love having a space that I can decorate exactly how I want and nobody can tell me otherwise. I also love owning something that creates income for me. In terms of dislikes, it can feel more stressful than renting, just because, you know, that whole building is yours.

What have been the main differences you’ve felt going from a renter to owning a home? I don’t resent my monthly payment anymore because I know it’s building equity for me. I’m also a lot cleaner. Hehe.

Any long term goals for the home? Cash flow! I currently make about $1,500/month from my Airbnb, but I’d like to make $1,000/month more so I’m not just breaking even. (That number includes the 20% fee from my Airbnb management service that I love called Hands On Austin).

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience? Any insight? Advice? Anything you want to share that we have not discussed? Hmmm. I think a lot of people have a lot of opinions about homeownership. I’ve heard things like “Buying a house is so hard” “Owning one is more expensive than you think” “The market in Austin is so crazy, you’ll never get what you want” etc. But I would say to let your experience be yourexperienceDon’t let other people dictate how you feel or what you do.

Oh, AND! Don’t be scared to ask a million questions. I used to feel bad when I would quadruple-text my agent, Steph… and then I got over it.

I live in Austin TX and am the co-founder of Open House Austin. My passion is contributing to others success by helping them reach their big picture goals.