Can I afford Austin? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 08-26-2008, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ETA: I've just changed the name of my post to reflect my biggest question. Can I afford Austin. I did a search on MLS databases and it seems the Southwest portion of Austin is very, very expensive. Then, thinking real estate would be cheaper farther out west, I did a search in Dripping Springs, Bee Cave, etc. Um, yeah, NOT cheaper.

So, if my partner gets a job on Bee Caves Rd. near the Mo-Pac, can we live there and keep our housing costs below $225,000? See below for details about what kind of place we are looking for. In short, gay friendly with secular homeshooling support and access to nature.


ORIGINAL POST
Yes, I'm the same one who posted about Georgetown/Round Rock but NOW my partner has an interview in Austin. If she got this job, she'd be on Bee Caves near Rt. 1 (between Rt. 1 and 360).

Could you tell me some areas to look at for housing? Here's a little about me to give you a feel of what kind of area we'd like: secular homeschoolers, lesbian, 2 kids, medium on the crunchy scale (i.e. gentle discipline, co-sleeping but we like our take-out pizza too and my kids wear clothes from Target).

Our price range for housing is about $200-$225 (could do up to $250 if it was perfect) though we'd like to rent for about a year. I'd LOVE to have some land where the kids can catch frogs and walk in the woods or be close to a nature park that offers that (close meaning walking or biking) distance. I'd like my partner to have a commute of less than 30 minutes but up to 40 is okay if it means we have a better place to live.

I do NOT want to be close to the nightlife as I'll be home reading at night. I do NOT want to be around drunk college students as I worked and lived at a University for 6 years and had my fill (not to mention the fill in college). We don't need to be in a gay mecca or a liberal haven but we need to be accepted and welcomed and not alone.

I want to be around nice people, have like-minded friends, have friends for my kids who are also homeschooled (my kids are 6 and 3), know other lesbian families, be accepted and supported in a quiet, safe, neighborhood.

Does this exist? If so, what's the address?
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#2 of 19 Old 08-26-2008, 10:19 PM
 
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I wish I could help you specifically....I can tell you that my brother and his family (kids are 8 and 5, not homeschooled) live just south of Bee Caves Road. It's a nice area; I'd move there in a heartbeat if I had a job offer, and not just because I have family there. I'm not sure there's any part of Austin that's not super-congested, but the street they live on still manages to be quiet, even though it's a stone's throw from Mo-pac and 360. If I were moving to the Austin area, I'd probably check out the southwest side in general. Fairly affluent and I suspect more liberal.

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#3 of 19 Old 08-27-2008, 01:51 AM
 
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Just FYI Loop/Rt 1 is more commonly known as Mo-Pac here.

Southwest does tend to be more affluent and it just depends how much you want to spend. There is a great deal of building in the ultra southwest with some really nice neighborhood but closer in you can still choose from very nice older to newer style homes. There are also some very nice apartments in the surrounding area. Depending how far south you care to go, a brand spanking new complex opened up on Slaughter. It looks really nice and very oriented for families used to living in single family dwellings. In our experience there were college students in the area but these generally were not the people partying down on 6th to the wee hours.

Circle C Ranch has some nice homes but from what friends who live there have said, they are a bit more conservative than the surrounding neighborhoods.

We are living very southeast currently near Southpark Meadows. I really like it but I don't think it is as developed as the southwest at this point. However we're far enough out to be away from the highway and can hear the coyotes on a good night.

HTH!
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#4 of 19 Old 08-27-2008, 03:18 PM
 
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Southwest Austin does tend to be more affluent. Circle C is literally one of the most conservative areas in the region, based on voter activity.
Buda is very affordable and surprisingly liberal, but it's a pretty small town (though it's a quick 15 minute drive to Austin. You can find affordable houses in Dripping, though property values are pretty high there. The market is still pretty stable, but prices are starting to decline slightly. Dripping has some very high end properties and some very affordable properties.
Getting a bit further from the job, but San Marcos is a great community. You could also find an affordable house in southeast austin.
The really great, walkable neighborhoods in Central Austin have gotten really expensive in the last 10 years, unless you want a condo.

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#5 of 19 Old 08-27-2008, 03:23 PM
 
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I'd still say Allandale. Directly north on Mo-Pac and you're here!
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#6 of 19 Old 08-27-2008, 03:49 PM
 
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DH interviewed in South Austin. I love, love that area, but yes, it is more expensive on the southwest side. If he had gotten the job, we probably would have had to live in Buda. I have heard good things about Buda. It's small-townish, but close to Austin and close to San Antonio too (yay zoo!)

But I don't know anything about the political climate/homeschooling in that area.

I do remember there being some affordable homes. I'm thinking it was kind of in the area of south of William Cannon, east of Manchacha (which is pronounced Man-shack), maybe? Stay away from Westlake ISD and Bowie High school in AISD and you should be able to find something. (and I'm guessing since you homeschool, the schools don't matter as much, although I don't know how the neighborhoods are).
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#7 of 19 Old 08-27-2008, 04:12 PM
 
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Actually SW Austin is very conservative. We are the only district here that votes Republican time and time again in Austin. SW Austin is our Republican haven! I would say that the Allandale area would probably be more to your liking. I also would not call Buda liberal or gay friendly. This is from a native Austinite so I know my areas pretty well. Have you looked north off of Research or north in the Burnet/Braker area? Those areas are lower in price also and are fairly liberal. Good luck searching.
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#8 of 19 Old 08-27-2008, 04:44 PM
 
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#9 of 19 Old 08-27-2008, 04:56 PM
 
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I'm with the others who suggested Allandale. I live near there (Hyde Park), and it sounds like it would meet your needs/wants quite well.
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#10 of 19 Old 08-27-2008, 05:03 PM
 
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This is what the $200K mark looks like it my cheaper part of Allendale.
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#11 of 19 Old 08-27-2008, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSuz View Post
Actually SW Austin is very conservative.


Have you looked north off of Research or north in the Burnet/Braker area? Those areas are lower in price also and are fairly liberal. Good luck searching.
That's good to know about SW Austin. I have this major pet peeve about "liberal cities" being so expensive that liberal can't actually live there (my partner is in social service so she's liberal by day and night!). Knowing that part of Austin is more conservative actually makes me feel better about Austin. Does that make any sense?

Can you give me some names of subdivisions/neighborhoods in the area you mentioned? It makes it easier to find them on the map and search MLS databases. Thanks!

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Originally Posted by lemongrass View Post
I'm with the others who suggested Allandale. I live near there (Hyde Park), and it sounds like it would meet your needs/wants quite well.
Allandale keeps coming up again and again, both for living in a commutable distance to Georgetown and if she ends up working in central Austin. Can someone confirm for me the commute time to Georgetown from this area? 30 minutes?

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Originally Posted by avengingophelia View Post
This is what the $200K mark looks like it my cheaper part of Allendale.
Well, that's not bad. It's not as much land as I'd like but I might just have to settle for nearby green space.

So, this town called Buda is very conservative?
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#12 of 19 Old 08-27-2008, 09:29 PM
 
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We moved to Northern VA from Austin last summer so my husband could go to law school. I LOVED Austin, and I miss it almost every day still

We were both in grad school, so we lived in Hyde Park before we were married. Very cool, but very expensive and student-heavy. We moved to far SW Austin-- off Brodie, between Wm. Cannon and Slaughter-- after we got married and rented a house there for 2 years until we moved out here. Our landlord wanted to sell the house, and we probably would have bought it if we were going to stay in the area. IIRC, she was asking in the neighborhood of $155k, but that was last year. I have no idea what the housing market is now. It was a 3bdr, 2bath with a yard, FWIW.

That area would be a decent commute for you, but I can't say how liberal or conservative it is. Our landlord was a yoga teacher, though, and there was another yoga teacher down the street It was mostly families, and there was a mix of ethnicities. We're pretty far left, and I didn't notice anything to suggest our neighborhood was particularly conservative. I lived in Austin for 5 years, and my husband lived there for 13, and all we ever heard was how conservative Round Rock was.
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#13 of 19 Old 08-28-2008, 12:32 PM
 
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I have a friend who teaches at UT, who actually opted to build in a small town east of Austin, for peace, quiet, and affordability. He's quite liberal; probably the town isn't so much--but on balance the peace, quiet, and affordability are more important to him.

OP, I actually think the plan of renting for a year before buying is really sound. That way, you could find a good realtor, get plugged into the local homeschool etc. scene, and really have the time to find just the right spot.

I know that when my brother and sil moved to Austin, they were shocked by prices, and it's just gone up since then. But they took their time and were able to find a less expensive home in the area I mentioned before.

Mom of two girls.
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#14 of 19 Old 08-28-2008, 12:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mackysmama View Post
Allandale keeps coming up again and again, both for living in a commutable distance to Georgetown and if she ends up working in central Austin. Can someone confirm for me the commute time to Georgetown from this area? 30 minutes?
It depends where in Georgetown specifically, but yeah, I'd say less than 30 mins. The good thing about commuting north from Allandale is that you are going against the bulk of the traffic.
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#15 of 19 Old 08-28-2008, 02:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mackysmama View Post
So, this town called Buda is very conservative?
I live in Buda and no, it's actually not very conservative at all. A lot of old hippies moved down here in the 80s. It's a cute small town, but it is very small, which is why we're moving to San Marcos -- we want to be able to bike or walk to bars, coffeeshops, restaurants and so on. There are a few good shops on Main Street, including the best breakfast tacos in Central Texas.
The historic neighborhood has some great houses in your price range, but they don't come up for sale very often.
Buda really is developing into more of a suburb, especially on the outskirts. It's a fifteen minute drive to Austin, closer to downtown that the northern suburbs of Austin.
Georgetown and Round Rock are a ton more conservative -- both in terms of the vibe of the place, but also literally, in terms of how people vote. Buda consistently votes Democrat.
You might enjoy living in Manchaca or south Austin. But for reals, stay out of Circle C.

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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#16 of 19 Old 08-28-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by candynut View Post

I do remember there being some affordable homes. I'm thinking it was kind of in the area of south of William Cannon, east of Manchacha (which is pronounced Man-shack), maybe? Stay away from Westlake ISD and Bowie High school in AISD and you should be able to find something. (and I'm guessing since you homeschool, the schools don't matter as much, although I don't know how the neighborhoods are).

This is kind of the area we live in, although we're just off West Gate, between Stassney and William Cannon. We live in an older home (1970's), 3 bedrooms, finished garage and enclosed porch. Our house backs up to a green belt and cost us about $170 K a year ago. The neighborhood is safe and the neighbors are friendly. There's a lesbian couple across the street Our neighborhood would be about a 15 minute drive to Bee Caves, even with some traffic. We really love it here. The area is quiet, but there is lots of stuff to do within a short drive or bus ride. Feel free to pm me if you'd like more info.

Good luck with your move!

peace, Beth
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#17 of 19 Old 08-28-2008, 04:28 PM
 
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I agree with those who have suggested Allandale - and renting for a year or so before buying. (I love little Buda too, but I think that gay friendly and liberal are perceived quite differently when someone is actually in a lesbian/gay relationship.) Renting will give you time to find community and move to the place that feels right. And...if you choose to move to Buda or even further south, we could always benefit from a little more diversity than we currently have!

good luck,

rain
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#18 of 19 Old 08-28-2008, 05:21 PM
 
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SW Austin is expensive, but South East still has some VERY affordable areas. Try there.

Maybe you should consider talking to a realtor in the area, they would know better than you which places are 10 miles but 5 minutes or vice versa.

--"Mama Bear" : to DD 8/06
Tree-hugging :, queer-loving , liberal, feminist hippie mom! :
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#19 of 19 Old 08-28-2008, 10:04 PM
 
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I live in a neighborhood called Heritage Hills/Woodbridge just east of I-35. It's true, there are some rougher neighborhoods in east Austin, this is actually one of the safest neighborhoods in the city with a very active neighborhood group (and not irritating, either) large trees, not terribly far from central Austin and a non-secular private school (Sri Atmananda) among other private schools (very near one called Not Your Ordinary School, I think). My next door neighbors are a very discreet gay couple. No students.

You can get a fair bang for your buck with the houses here, and the homes are 90%+ owner occupied. There is a development going on at one side of the neighborhood (condo/duplexes) that we fought, but they will be pretty nice, I think. Hope you'll take a peek!
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