Purchasing a Waterfront Property in Austin

Kelsey Easton March 1, 2024

Everything You Need To Know About Purchasing a Waterfront Property in Austin

When it comes to picturesque landscapes and serene privately owned shorelines, Austin emerges as a top contender. If you're considering purchasing a lakefront property here, it's essential to weigh the distinctive features of both Lake Austin and Lake Travis.


Welcome to Lake Austin

Nestled within the heart of Austin, It's here where you can find some of Austin's most lavish residences. Surrounded by lush greenery and elegant homes, this lake serves as a serene oasis amidst the bustling cityscape. Stretching only 22 miles, real estate is limited and can come with a steep price tag with most residences selling off-market. 

Why You'll Love Living on Lake Austin 

Lake Austin is easily the most convenient lake with its proximity to Downtown. Residents including families, entrepreneurs, and successful professionals embrace a lifestyle that balances hard work with leisurely pursuits. Properties surrounding Lake Austin provide access to several esteemed independent school districts including Eanes ISD, Austin ISD, Lake Travis ISD, and Leander ISD. Lake levels remain constant which can give you incredible views of the lake from the comfort of your living room. It's here you can have the luxury of a morning boat cruise to Mozart's Coffee or Ski Shores or tie up at Hula Hut come happy hour for Tex-Mex and margarita. If you're seeking a lively atmosphere, consider coasting down to the infamous Party Cove for fun-filled gatherings with friends on the water. If your vibe is inclined towards a more refined and elegant outing, perhaps head to the Austin Country Club, renowned for hosting the prestigious Dell Match Play golf tournament. 

Living on Lake Travis


Northwest of downtown, Lake Travis is Austin's largest lake and longtime local favorite. Spanning 271 miles of shoreline and over 63 miles long, it's a massive lake if you're okay with being about 30-45 minutes from Downtown Austin. 

Why You'll Love Lake Travis

Locals consider the Lake Travis community the Southshore of the lake, from Lakeway to Spicewood. What was once considered a retirement town, has now quickly grown to a lively community consisting of young families, retirees, and second homeowners. It's here you'll find the acclaimed Lake Travis ISD, and you'll find an abundance of restaurants and shopping located in the Hill County Galleria. If you're not quite ready to purchase a waterfront home, you'll find various waterfront communities that provide community water access and boat slips such as Rough Hollow, Vineyard Bay, and Costa Bella.
If you are searching north of the lake you'll find available waterfront real estate in Jonestown, Lago Vista, and Point Venture. Prices are typically lower compared to the Southshore due to a longer commute to Downtown and the airport. Infrastructure is developing and offers a serene hill country escape.  While Lake Austin's water levels remain constant, Lake Travis's water levels can fluctuate. What does that mean for you and your waterfront search? If looking on Lake Travis remember to look at where your waterfront home is located on the lake and if it's located on a cove. In a dry season, your waterfront access may become compromised. With this in mind, you will have to adjust your boat dock seasonally as levels fluctuate. On Lake Travis, you can have beautiful hilltop views, but your water access can become steep. It's more common to have trams or you may have steep stairs that lead you to the water.
Catch a legendary sunset at the iconic Oasis restaurant or if you wish to avoid the tourist trap, venture out to Hippie Hollow or Volente Beach. This lake is great for outdoor and lake enthusiasts who want to experience everything from scuba diving and fishing to boating sports and amazing hiking trails. Lake Travis is also known for having some of the best golf courses in Austin.

5 Tips for Purchasing a Waterfront Property in Austin

1. Understand lake levels and how they can impact your property.
While Lake Austin's water levels remain constant, Lake Travis's water levels will fluctuate. How does that affect your waterfront home? If on Lake Travis remember to look at where the home is located on the lake. If it's located on a cove, in a dry season your waterfront access and view may become compromised. Also note that you will have to adjust your boat dock seasonally. On Lake Travis your water access can be steep, and it's common for many homes to have steep stairs or a tram.
2. Location is equally as important as privacy.
Finding a waterfront property on the deep body of the lake can feel like the best choice, but keep in mind the amount of traffic that particular part of the lake can get. Boats can be noisy. Do you prefer views over privacy? If you prefer to live on the lake but avoid highly populated areas, I would be mindful of being close to areas like Devils Cove on Lake Travis. Purchasing on a cove can ensure privacy and less boating traffic. 
3. Understand your lot size and water frontage. 
When buying a waterfront property you want to make sure to look at the floodplains. Some properties will have wetlands which generally come with restrictions and limitations and the whole lot may only have a small portion that is usable. If located in a flood zone, know that you may find yourself having a hard time securing financing and expect to pay flood insurance. 
4. Work with an experienced Real Estate Agent.
Most waterfront properties in Austin sell privately, and will never hit list online. Working with an established and well-connected Real Estate Agent ensures you have visibility on everything on and off the market. 
5. Understand your waterfront goals. 
Maybe you think you want a waterfront home to escape to on the weekends, but maybe you actually want a boat slip or private boat dock. (Both of which are available to purchase.) Understand the difference between waterfront, water view, and water access properties. Explore waterfront communities that allow lake access and possible boat storage, if you don't want to pay the higher price tag for a direct waterfront property. 
Don't let yourself drown in the process of buying a waterfront home. Reach out to an experienced waterfront Real Estate Agent who will candidly discuss all variables to consider when purchasing a waterfront property. Reach out to [email protected] if you would like to stay updated on exclusive off-market opportunities in the Austin area. 

Work With Kelsey

Call Kelsey today to schedule a private showing.