On Friday, March 4th, Averna sent us on a house scouting trip. We had a few goals to meet when picking out our place: walking distance to bars/restaurants, need to be able to save money, not too far from NI, stay in the “rectangle” that surrounds Austin.
We boarded an early flight from Atlanta to Austin, got a rental car and drove directly to our realtor’s office. We previewed a few houses online and Adam, the realtor, had lined up three houses for us to look at:
#1 (Hyde Park). The house was small, old but charming, a little expensive and close to downtown but not walkable.
#2 (Number Two). This house was much bigger and was definitely more bang for our buck. It was more like our GA house and not close to much of anything. One major red flag: there were 3-4 police officers searching a car right outside the neighborhood.
#3 (Blue House). This one was old, but slightly remodeled. It had a separate conditioned space for Trav’s music and approximately five colors of tile in the kitchen.
We weren’t really excited about any of them, but Blue House was still on the maybe list. We decided to go back to the hotel to keep browsing online. We came across one that seemed to be perfect on paper so we decided to go check it out.
#4 (Old Greenie). This was a VERY old house that had just been remodeled and boasted a ton of off street parking. It’s right next to the UT campus and within walking distance of Polkadots, a shop specializing in cupcakes and custom cakes. Just around the corner was a pizza place, other eateries, and a vintage clothing shop. We definitely added it to the list of contenders even though it was at the very high end of our budget.
That night, we went to dinner with Gary (Trav’s co-worker) and Amy (Gary’s wife), who were also on their house scouting trip. We walked around town for a while and finally decided to eat at La Sol Y La Luna (by the way, there are a ton of Mexican joints all over Austin) and the food was really good; not quite as good as the margarita I had, but it was good. Like many other Mexican restaurants, there was a mariachi band playing live music while we ate. The only difference was the number of people in this particular band. Seriously, there must have been 13 of them. It was wild.
We explored a little more after dinner and found a bar called Lovejoys. They have great house brews. We’ll definitely be going back again.
The next day started out with more independent research at the hotel. We decided to drive out to the NI campus to check out the area. It was really suburban and not what we were looking for with this whole experience.
We headed back toward the city and drove by Blue House again. We really liked the area, so we scoured the neighborhood looking for available homes. We called on all that were for lease and saw most of them:
#5 (Brady’s). This house has a studio! But it’s prone to flooding.
#6 (Allie’s). By the time we called her, it was already rented. She was really nice, too.
#7 (Jerry’s). This house was just a few doors down from Blue House…cheap, newly remodeled, available now. The only downside was it only had window units for A/C. We weren’t stoked about that because Austin is hot…really hot.
#8 (Palo). Like Blue House, this one has a detached conditioned space that would be perfect for a studio. But if we want to rent that space, too, it’s an additional $400/month.
#9 (Katie’s). By far, this was the nicest home we saw. It was remodeled to be very modern and was absolutely gorgeous. Someone else had already put in an application that morning, so we told her to call us if it fell through because we were really interested.
#10 (Darla’s). This was probably the worst house we saw. Naturally, it was the cheapest and not worth writing about.
As we were finishing our own search, Adam called with two new listings south of the river, an area that we hadn’t seen.
We had a quick sushi lunch at DK and it was awesome. They have great food and a very friendly staff.
Then we met Adam at his office and visited two more houses:
#11 (1/2). This house had a great location and was definitely a winner. It had a lot of privacy and backed up to a parking lot, so it’s a perfect place to play music. And yes, the street number really has 1/2 in it.
#12 (SOCO Area). This house had a giant back yard. The current tenant, Billy, was in the process of moving out and had nothing but great things to say about the house and the area. He said the neighbor is in the music industry and is building a studio out back, the bar up on the corner is a great place to go and we’d be in walking distance of a “Little 5” area and what we affectionately refer to as Food Truck Land.
After debating the pros and cons, we finally made a decision! Which one did we pick? You’ll have to come visit to see!
We had a second dinner with Gary & Amy at a sports bar called Champions. Again, this place had really good local beers. I hope this is a characteristic that we’ll keep finding in Austin restaurants!
One early observation: I will most likely be very tired of all of the “orange” by this time next year…it’s everywhere…I mean, everywhere…might need an injection of school spirit to understand.