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Old 07-26-2007, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 2,643,105 times
Reputation: 366

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About property taxes: they are assessed based on changes in property values and local politics. The trade-off in buying a house that will appreciate a lot is that your taxes will rise every year. This is a good trade-off for people who have income and can afford the taxes. For retirees, there are some places that freeze the tax rate for people over a certain age, and other places where property values are not rising so taxes don't go up much.

I personally find that property taxes are the least of my woes. I've been a property owner here for 15 years and it's such a small percentage of my overhead that it really doesn't matter to me, so I'm puzzled as to why so many people comment about it on this forum. If it's really important to you then find a place that freezes rates or an area where property values probably won't rise.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,762 posts, read 18,186,877 times
Reputation: 3617
The 'trick' in Texas is to not be blinded by some of the inexpensive real estate. Some people come in with 600k to spend, and decide that they WILL spend it, come hell or high water (like currently ), and end up with a 4,500 or 5,000 sq ft mansion, then find out that taxes will eat them alive, along with the cost of heating and, especially, cooling. Part of the reason people talk about how high their utility bills are here is because they doubled or tripled the square footage at the same time that the delta in inside/outside temperatures increased from what they are used to living in.

Personally, I think our retirement will be well suited living in a more moderate house and banking all that money that was not spent on electricity and taxes.
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 2,643,105 times
Reputation: 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainwreck20 View Post
Personally, I think our retirement will be well suited living in a more moderate house and banking all that money that was not spent on electricity and taxes.
Simple, yet brilliant!

It amazes me to see how many people get obsessed with the "we need more space" idea. I've watched a lot of people regret their decision to move into ginormous houses. NOBODY NEEDS THAT MUCH SPACE! It creates less intimacy, more work, more need to spend large sums of money on furnishings and decor, more on utilities, more maintenance, and the list goes on. There are also plenty of studies showing that families living in more intimate environments tend to be closer in their relationships and have less stress, up to a reasonable point.

Obviously if you're jammed into a one-room apartment with your kids, the stress levels go way up. But finding the right balance is important. People moving to Austin should be forewarned not to get all giddy about how humongous a house they can afford. Just because you CAN afford it doesn't mean it's a smart decision to buy it.

And just for you, Trainwreck: "Henna Chevrolet, We'll stand by you!"
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:52 AM
 
43 posts, read 141,820 times
Reputation: 17
There are definitely good points made about not buying a home just because it is big and just because you can. But my 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1500 sq ft home is too small for our family. The master bedroom is 12'x14', the second bedroom is 12'x10', and the third bedroom is so small (8'x8') we just use it as a computer room. Our living room is only 12'x10' too. Ideally we would like four bedrooms (master, 2 kids rooms, and a computer room) which are larger dimensions that we have now and a larger living room. When we look for those qualities in Virginia Beach, the homes are about 2500 sq ft, in a mediocre neighborhood, at start around $350,000. We figure that we can get that same house in the Round Rock area for under $200,000 and only have to pay about $1200 more in property tax each year compared to here.
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Old 07-26-2007, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 2,643,105 times
Reputation: 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by dclboro View Post
Ideally we would like four bedrooms (master, 2 kids rooms, and a computer room) which are larger dimensions that we have now and a larger living room.
...We figure that we can get that same house in the Round Rock area for under $200,000 and only have to pay about $1200 more in property tax each year compared to here.
Sounds like you're thinking it through very wisely. 2500 sq ft. is a lot, but it's no mansion. Michael Dell's garage is bigger than that. I think it gets absurd above about 4,000 sq ft. --- unless you're a very wealthy person who needs space for a library, meditation room, entertaining, office, etc. I think you're making the right choice, VA Beach to RR is a good transition although you might miss the beach and there will be other things to get used to.
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Old 07-26-2007, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,762 posts, read 18,186,877 times
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Oh, by no means am I saying stay in too small a house....it is just that I don't think anybody really NEEDS some of the HUGE houses that are bought around here. Personally, I think 2,500 sq. ft generally is more than adequate for a familly of 4 or even 5. I know some families of three that are living in 4,300 sq. ft houses....you have to hike from the table to the kitchen, there is so much open space. WE are a family of three (planning for four) in a 2,300 sq. ft, and have no plans to leave (or upsize) anytime of the next 18 years or so.
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Hutto, Tx
8,642 posts, read 16,413,976 times
Reputation: 2332
Yay Trainwreck! I agree. I live in Hutto, and since you asked about it, I'll tell you. It's no further East than Pflugerville, although a little further North. It was a VERY small town, but growing rapidly. They are building a new high school, and 1 elementary school a year for the next 5 years. From where I live, I can walk to just about everything, including the elementary school and middle school. We could really use a grocery store, and water is expensive, but besides that, really have no complaints. In fact, we have some west of 35 transplants here that like the size of home lots they have as compared to there. The only thing they say they don't like is that we don't have a ton of resturaunts. But what we have works so far, and most are good. 3 mexican, 4 italian/pizza, 2 sandwich, 1 donut, Chili's, McDonald's, Taco Bell, Sonic and Golden Chick, 1 chinese, 1 american/family style. Home prices in some of the newer developments are listing higher starting prices, either very near 200 or over. Many are still below 200. There is only one older established "neighborhood" here. The other older homes are usually farm houses, etc...There are even some large ranches out here, complete with cow herds. The schools rate recognized/exemplary depending on the year (I'm sure you've read about how school ratings all over change every year). Lots of the newer neighborhoods don't have trees, but they were built on cornfields. There are some places (although few in town) where the trees are extremely well established. The foreclosures aren't all because everyone that lives here is dirt poor. In fact, if you drive around a little, you will see that that isn't entirely the case. Sure, not many live in 300,000+ homes, but we're happy irregardless. Our downtown isn't much to write home about, but there is a project in the works to replace the side that burned down in the early 1900's. There are many other businesses slated to come in here as well. Lowes is almost done and there is also a home Depot. A residential/commercial development called Ranch at Caramel Creek is planned for the Hutto 400. The architects rendering of it was in an insert of the local paper. A holiday Inn Suites is coming, an as yet unnamed Drug Store-hopefully walgreens. There is a golf course at Star Ranch. There is a practice waterski lake at Frameswitch. You're a hop skip and jump away from the new hospital, outlets, and Ikea,etc..You can take the backroads. There are 2 clinics here. An ARC and a Scott and White. Also 2 Dentists, a few Chiropractors, a coffee shop, 2 liquor stores, several churches. Lots of kids activities are forming here like summer sports camps for kids. We have movies and concerts in the park. Alamo Draft House is hosting one coming up, and Band of heathens just played. Coupland Dance Hall and the Cotton Club in Granger have great acts that play there. The toll road is right here, so it shaves about 20 minutes off your drive to Austin. It also goes to Georgetown. We have Triple Crown academy for dogs which hosts many canine competitions and it has camps and such for just anyone to bring their animals to and an obstacle course. They have obedience classes and boarding as well. There are some stables as well. We're really close to Dell Diamond and Old Settlers Park. If for whatever reason you can't make it to Travis and still want to hang at a lake, there is Lake Georgetown, and Granger. We do this if we get a late start, or it looks like bad weather will hit the West side. We also are not too terribly far from Elgin, and sometimes we go there just to buy stuff from the sausage factory.
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 2,643,105 times
Reputation: 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by love roses View Post
...I live in Hutto
...You're a hop skip and jump away from the new hospital...
Curious George here: do you mean the quick drive down the toll FWY to the new Dell Children's Hospital, or is there also a new hospital in the RR area?

I cannot keep up with the growth here. I drove to Burnett recently via 71/281, then came back on the new 183A toll bypass around Cedar Park, and I got completely disoriented because there were all kinds of spectacular interchanges with signs pointing to everything and I had no clue where I was. The interchange at 183 and 620 is possibly the most other-worldly magnificent piece of 3-dimensional art I've ever seen! Well, not art, more like "WOW!"

As a kid I loved going to Los Angeles (from Santa Barbara) because the freeway interchanges excited me. I used to design interchanges on napkins when I was about 8 years old. My parents must have been pretty worried about me, the way Hank Hill feels about Bobby.

Anyway, I never say anything in LA like the new stuff going in around northwest Austin and RR. Truly mind-boggling, although the interchange complex where the Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Golden State and Santa Ana freeways all collide is still the most gnarly snakepit I know of. Beautiful!
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Hutto, Tx
8,642 posts, read 16,413,976 times
Reputation: 2332
I meant the new one in RR. I think it is a Scott and White. I think I can relate to the interchange thing, but sometimes it just makes me dizzy (not that I'm not just "dizzy" most of the time anyway ) Houston has some pretty crazy ones too.
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Old 07-26-2007, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Austin TX
1,209 posts, read 4,552,953 times
Reputation: 380
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainwreck20 View Post
Oh, by no means am I saying stay in too small a house....it is just that I don't think anybody really NEEDS some of the HUGE houses that are bought around here. Personally, I think 2,500 sq. ft generally is more than adequate for a familly of 4 or even 5. I know some families of three that are living in 4,300 sq. ft houses....you have to hike from the table to the kitchen, there is so much open space. WE are a family of three (planning for four) in a 2,300 sq. ft, and have no plans to leave (or upsize) anytime of the next 18 years or so.
I think a lot of the house size question depends on the husband/wife work situation (assuming a married couple) and other life situation factors as well. For example, we only have two kids - but, my husband works full time from home, and we have no family here, so having an office for him and a guest room are essential on top of what we just need to get by as a family of 4. We tried to get by using our guest room as his office, and that didn't work with our parade of elderly family members who come into town for 2 to 4 weeks at a time.

A lot depends on the layout/floor plan also - a really good 2400 sf can feel like 2800 or 3000; a bad 3000 sf can feel much smaller. We have a 3400 sf house and it works fairly well; but right now my husband's office is in our bedroom (NOT a good situation) and our layout is not terrific, so we're looking at trying to add a bit of square footage to make the home more functional or change the square footage we have to make it work better. Our family room basically can't hold any furniture.

On a side note - Harvester, I'm glad you enjoyed the highway art that is the intersection of 620 and 183. It's quite a sight, isn't it? I'm not sure whether to be awed, frightened or repulsed by it all!
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