Illinoisians are flocking to Austin. Whether it’s for Austin’s growing technology job market, the city’s diverse neighborhoods, or its endless beautiful weather, Chicagoans relocating to Austin helped the city secure the title of “Number One Growth State in America in 2021.”
As a real estate group with agents in both Chicago and Austin, the Zimmerman Group is uniquely positioned to help make your cross-country move as smooth as possible.
Here are our 5 tips for moving from Chicago to Austin.
1. Find a REALTOR® in Chicago and Austin
A Chicago and Austin REALTOR® will each have unique knowledge of their specific market. While your Chicago agent can help you price your current home to sell quickly and for top dollar, your Austin agent will have unique insight into the area’s neighborhoods, market trends, home values, and real estate law.
The Austin market moves quickly. Austin’s average market time is significantly shorter than Chicago’s, so the agent partnership is even more important when buying in Austin.
We offer the unique opportunity to work with a team that covers both areas. The result is a streamlined communication process between you and the agents and the agents themselves.
2. Create a Timeline but Remain Flexible
Due to the fast pace of Austin’s housing market, it’s extremely important for you to get pre-approved for a loan prior to starting your home search. When buying a home in Texas, you must receive pre-approval from a licensed Texas lender, ideally one who is familiar with local customs and practices.
Then, decide what you’ll do with your current home. Speak with your Chicago and Austin agents about the market conditions in each city.
Are you likely to sell faster than you’ll be able to buy? If so, what will you do in the overlap of time? Having a trusted agent in both locations will be a huge asset as you make this move and navigate these scenarios.
3. Learn Local Real Estate Laws
Real estate laws and common practices can vary widely from state to state. Here are 3 key differences in Austin’s home buying process that you should be aware of.
- Texas is not an attorney state. In Austin, the title company will play a significant role in the transaction once you’re under contract.
The title company will collect and hold earnest money and review the survey or T-47 Residential Real Property Affidavit.
- Texas is an option-period state. This means, in the contract, the buyer pays a fee to the seller to have the option to terminate the deal, for any reason, for a specified number of days.
An inspection must occur during the option period state.
- Attachments will not transfer with the sale. Attachments, like refrigerators and washers and dryers, will not transfer with the sale of the home unless they are physically built-in.
Make plans to purchase these appliances in accordance with your closing timeline so you’re not stuck without after the sale is final.
4. Plan for Additional Moving Expenses
Moving expenses from Chicago to Austin will cost between $1,000-$6,000 depending on the number of belongings you have and the time of year you plan to move.
You should also budget for mold and termite or pest inspections. These issues are more common in Austin than in Chicago due to Texas’ warm climate.
Additionally, you should also expect higher utility bills in Austin, Texas compared to Chicago. Your home's geographical orientation will greatly affect your energy bills. A home with western exposure will have the highest energy expenses during Texas’ hotter months.
Check out our blog Three Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Energy Efficient Home Upgrades to learn more about cost and energy-saving home improvements.
5. Learn About the Local Schools
If you’re moving from Chicago to Austin with school-aged children, you’ll want to take some time to investigate the schools in your areas of interest.
We recommend starting with Texas National Title’s School Information page. Then, speak with your REALTOR® to find homes in your desired school district.
Moving out of state can be tricky. But with an experienced and trusted broker in both locations, you can rest assured that your best interest is being taken care of on both ends of your move.
Want to know more about Austin’s real estate market?
Schedule a call with Coleen Karpf, the Zimmerman Group's Austin Expansion Agent, today.