Questions Families Should Ask Before Buying

Here is a snippet I got from Realtor Magazine. It’s a pretty good list, but I would add to it “How are the schools in the neighborhood”? Good schools are a very important factor for most families with kids.

Family real estate specialist Elena Thurston, an associate with Keller Williams Realty in Phoenix, tells buyers that while gourmet kitchens are nice, picking a home that meets the whole family’s needs is more important.

Here are the questions she urges her clients to ask about the homes they are considering.

• Is there neighborhood pool or a covered tot lot? Are there walking trails or other safe places to exercise?

• Is the backyard safe for pets and children?

• Is there adequate storage in the garage for lawn care and play equipment?

• Whose bedroom is over the garage? Will you be able to open the garage without waking up the baby?

• Does the garage open into the kitchen for ease with groceries or do you have to trek through the entire house?

• How invasive are the homeowner association’s rules? Will the association allow you to put up a basketball hoop or install a swing set? Where can you park extra cars?

• How far away are the grocery store, post office, bank, park, gas station, and schools?

• Where are the washer and dryer located? Will operating them during naptime or evening hours disturb sleepers?

• Does the area have good Internet access?

• What is the ratio of adults to children and how many older children are there vs. younger ones?

Steve Crossland

Steve is a Real Estate Blogger, UT Austin Grad, Real Estate Broker and owner of Crossland Team and Crossland Real Estate in Austin TX.

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David - 13 years ago

Actually having a good school in the neighborhood is not a big factor, because of the transfer policy. Our child goes to an elementary school where over 50% of the students are transfers. Because it’s getting harder and harder for working families to afford to live in central Austin, it’s getting easier and easier to transfer to the schools that serve those neighborhoods. So you really have a choice of schools in your neighborhood and/or along your route to work.

Steve Crossland - 13 years ago

That’s a good point David. I had not thought of that. Thanks for pointing that out. In Austin, in-district transfers are allowed. I know every year parents line up overnight at the school district offices to apply for transfers into some of the better rated Austin elementary schools. I think Eanes allows transfers from out of district even. Round Rock doesn’t. Dripping Springs doesn’t either. It varies across districts.

Amy - 13 years ago

In regards to the comment about living in central Austin and good schools. What are your thoughts on the new community development on East Riverside? We have some friends that recently moved into the neighborhood and they are convinced it will be a great investment. Is that area really being developed well? Are the schools a big factor? Is it safe?

Steve Crossland - 13 years ago

Hi Amy,

East Riversdie t’s a great location close to downtown but that it has long suffered from a disproportionate population of students and low income renters. There are a ton of apartments over there. I do know some of the run down apartments along the south side of Town Lake are prime for renovation and possible conversion to condos. If East Austin can be turned around (which hasn’t really happened yet, except for the real estate prices), then so can East Riverside. It takes people like your friends to believe in it and make it happen.

I have always liked the little pocket just south of Riverside and north of Woodland close to IH35. I’ve owned duplexes there and still have one. It’s literally 3 minutes to downtown from there and there are some nice older homes built in the 60’s and 70’s. But the schools are awful.


Tracy - 13 years ago

If a child is allowed to transfer to, say some Eanes elementary, from out of school district, will the child be able to continue through Eanes middle and high school? Does anyone know of this? Thanks!


Steve Crossland - 13 years ago

Hi Tracy,

There is no guarnaty year-to-year that a child transfered into eanes schools will be granted the transfer each following year. But barring bad behavior or poor performance, the unofficial word I hear is that it’s highly likely they will be allowed to continue forward. Returning transfer student apply earlier than the first-time transfer students into Eanes also.


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