When Matt and Kara Chavez were searching for a home last year, they were thinking long term. They considered their future neighborhood’s amenities. They wanted to make sure their girls would be in a good school district. And they were looking for a sense of community with other young families.
“I grew up in Lakeway, so I always liked the area,” Matt Chavez said. “We were trying to get far enough away from the city so you could see the stars,” yet they are only five minutes from the Hill Country Galleria and 30 minutes from downtown Austin.
The Lower Colorado River Authority supervisor and stay-at-home mother found everything they were looking for in Sweetwater, a 1,400-acre residential community in western Travis County that offers energy-efficient homes from 1,700 to 3,700 square feet ranging from $259,990 to the $600,000s.
“It was just exactly what we were looking for,” Matt Chavez said, noting that the amenities — a pool, parks, trails and more — helped it stand out from other developments in the area.
After selecting the neighborhood, the couple started working with one of the half-dozen builders on a to-be-built home. They ran into a few hiccups, but partway through the building process, they found an inventory home on the neighborhood’s green belt that they liked better, so they worked out a deal to switch gears. They paid just over $400,000 for the 2,967-square-foot, one-story home by Ashton Wood Homes.
Thinking about their daughters Madison, 2, and 11-week-old Taylor, Kara Chavez said she likes the open floor plan, the separation of bedrooms and the safety factor of not having stairs.
Her husband said he likes the high ceilings, large kitchen area and extra storage via the three-car tandem garage, as well as the fact that backing up to the green belt offers great views and more privacy.
He said they preferred going with an inventory home because, with the upgrades already included, you know the total price upfront, and “the builders are much more willing to negotiate” on things like blinds, paint and appliance upgrades.
He said they also got a good deal by being among the first to buy. The tradeoff is having to wait for the amenities to be completed.
The Sweetwater Club — including a clubhouse with event space, pool, splash pad, playscape, sports fields and more — is expected to open in June, said Kathy Mayer, Sweetwater’s marketing manager.
“Getting in early or at the end — that’s the way to get the best deal,” Kara Chavez said.
The bottom line?
“Do your homework,” Matt Chavez said, “and just research and make sure it’s everything you want before you sign the deal.”