When browsing houses for sale in a real estate market as large and diverse as San Antonio it can be overwhelming to narrow down what you’re looking for. Luckily, in the San Antonio real estate market buyers have the flexibility to choose from a variety of different housing options. With so many choices, it’s important for homebuyers to assess their needs and prioritize their “wants”. At the end of the day, you will be able to find the perfect house for you after deciding which of the following factors to value.
Proximity to Work
Whether you work downtown, or outside the loop, a primary decision point for most homebuyers is how far they are willing to live from work. Those who work in San Antonio are fortunate because of the large variety of neighborhoods available throughout the city. Many times, the decision depends on what any one homebuyer is willing to give up, whether that be bang for the buck or time on the road. While nice houses are generally more affordable in areas like Cibolo Canyons and Stone Oak, that could mean a longer commute than if you paid a bit more to live in Alamo Heights. Many who work downtown prefer the Alamo Heights area because of its convenient proximity. In fact, most Alamo Heights residents can be to work in as few as ten minutes. If you work downtown and can afford to pay for the short commute, a house in Alamo Heights may be your best bet.
Town or Country?
If like most homebuyers you opt to start out a little further from downtown to get the most bang for your buck, you have one more geographic choice to make. Do you prefer living in town or do you prefer the country? San Antonio is unique from most other large cities because the suburban areas of town are located within the city rather than separate suburbs. Stone Oak, Hollywood Park, Castle Hills, Deerfield, Shavano Park and many other well-respected neighborhoods reside inside the San Antonio city limits. However, if you’re looking to live outside of town there are a variety of choices. From Boerne, to Helotes, to Bulverde plenty of options are available for those valuing the peace and quiet of the country. This house in Boerne provides a Texas Hill Country retreat just minutes from the city.
Now that you’ve decided what general area to live in, it’s time to choose a neighborhood. In the past, choosing a neighborhood was as important as the house itself. Neighborhood choice has become a less prevalent criterion largely due to the large amount of good neighborhoods to choose from. However, many still weigh neighborhood choice heavily in their home buying decision. Certain neighborhoods can be desired for a variety of different reasons. No matter if it is the community, lot sizes, age of houses, greenery, or simply a well-known name, certain neighborhoods just become popular over time. While San Antonio is home to swaths of desirable neighborhoods, one particularly popular for families is Hollywood Park. Technically its own town, Hollywood Park is an enclave nestled between the hustle and bustle of 410 and 1604. The neighborhood is known for its classic houses and beautiful tree-filled lots. Interestingly, the neighborhood has been a favorite throughout the years partially because of the abundance of wildlife that seeks refuge there; it’s quite common to see deer roaming the streets along with residents. A neighborhood well regarded and respected in the San Antonio Real Estate community, Hollywood Park is a great choice if you’re looking for a home with a traditional neighborhood feel.
Fixer Upper or Good as New?
Most young people find themselves drawn to houses and features that simply aren’t available in a brand new house in their price range. Thus, many have taken to buying older and lower priced houses. They then add their favorite features, colors, and pieces themselves. Renovating older houses has become one of the most popular home buying options for young people today. Many still do prefer to buy new houses, but it’s no secret that buying a house with “good bones” and updating the more cosmetic features can be a cost efficient way to tailor a house to your stylistic preferences. You may not believe it but this house was built in 1912. The owners have obviously updated throughout the years to suit their own style, while maintaining the classic look and craftsmanship of the house.
Depending on stage of life, quality of local school districts and schools can be a make or break home search preference. San Antonio is known for high achieving public schools, but there are still differences between districts. While Comal ISD has the financial fortitude of a district committed to one excellent high school, Northside ISD offers a high school geared specifically toward students interested in health careers. Similarly, while high school attendance zones are important, some buyers look toward the immediate future for the best elementary or middle school. It’s easy to see how the ins and outs of all the San Antonio schools and school districts can become a huge consideration in the home purchase process. The Stone Oak area is a particularly great option for families with school-aged children. The house below is zoned for outstanding schools including Hardy Oak Elementary, Lopez Middle School, and Reagan High School.
A fairly new addition to the residential real estate scene, community amenities have become every bit as important to buyers as a neighborhood itself. Traditionally, the best “amenity” around was living on or near a golf course or park. Now neighborhood developers invest vast amounts of resources into sport courts, fields, playgrounds, pools, jogging trails, and even small water parks. Like all home buying decisions, the search for amenities comes down to preference. Is it a deal breaker on your dream house if the neighborhood doesn’t have a jogging trail? Probably not. However, a large share of buyers may feel otherwise if the community also does not have a pool. Alamo Ranch is the largest developed community in San Antonio, and one of the newest. This Alamo Ranch house is beautiful and includes access to community amenities such as a clubhouse, pool, waterslide, child splashpark, jogging trails, multi-purpose fields, on-site elementary schools, and multiple playgrounds.
At the end of the day, the number one consideration for most homebuyers is the price they will pay for a home. Different preferences result in different price points, and most times those price points narrow your list of preferences quickly. Are you willing to live in an older house if it means having this pool in your backyard for less than $200,000?
The amount of choices and preferences juggled when considering a home purchase can seem overwhelming. With so many decisions ahead of you, it’s never a bad idea to at least pick up the phone and give a San Antonio Realtor a call. A professional home purchaser and negotiator, a Realtor can help you understand how many of your desires can be fulfilled within your budget and can generally help find a home that satisfies more than you might expect. While it’s perfectly possible to find a good house without a Realtor, there is no true substitute for the skills of a professional. Realtors know the tricks of the trade, have access to better data, and have learned the keys to good negotiations in the San Antonio real estate market. Purchasing a house may come with many decisions, but those very decisions add up to make a new house into a forever home.