Kids in the Capital City

Kids in the Capital City: Navigating the pitfalls of Austin real estate

Kids in the Capital City: The pitfalls of Austin real estate

Family moving
The time has come ... to move to the suburbs. Photo by Jessie Casson/Getty Images

Like many (nearly) native Austinites, I thought fondly about raising my kids in the city that shaped my formative years. There’d be summer swims at Barton Springs, snow cones at Sno Beach, rides on the Zilker Zephyr, and so much more.

When it came time to finally purchase our first home, my husband and I remained firm: Austin or bust. We scoured the Austin real estate market (with the help of our very patient realtor) and started our search.

We faced the problem confronted by many people in our situation: great house, good price, not-so-great schools. Great house, not-so-great price, fair schools. And most common? Decent house, astronomical price, good schools.

We visited home after home with enough space, but not nearly enough character. We perused listings in perfect, family-friendly locations but priced $50,000 over budget and in need of a new kitchen to take it out of the 1990s. When we found homes we “liked,” we put offers in ... and were promptly outbid at nearly $60,000 over asking. Lacking the patience possessed by my husband, I began to get discouraged.

Then, we had an idea.

As two professionals fortunate enough to work from home, we don’t have to worry about lengthy commutes. With two kids under three, we wanted space, comfort, and a home that we loved, not just settled for. And with a new baby coming in October, we needed it fast.

So we set our sights a bit further out. At the urging of our realtor and friends in similar situations, we decided to look toward Dripping Springs. And we found our dream home in the process.

With great schools, kid-friendly activities aplenty, and a hometown Hill Country feel, making the move out to “the drip” was a no-brainer. We’re surrounded by breweries and beautiful views and look forward to giving our two boys (and ourselves) space to roam. We’re doubling our square footage for a price that seems unfathomable in most of Austin.

We’re moving just 30 minutes outside Austin, and while we’re telling ourselves it’s not far, I know we’re in for a big lifestyle change. Sure, I’ll miss being able to pop to the Central Library for a few minutes, but how often am I really going? Yes, we’ll have to find a new dentist, a new coffee shop, and the like, but we’re settling into a new life on which I’m excited to embark.

I’ll still be raising my kids in the Capital City, I’ll just have to drive a little farther to get there.