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Old 07-15-2008, 08:58 PM
 
Location: SoCal
2,262 posts, read 6,415,814 times
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So I'm in Austin, and today I drove around this really fantastic little area. It was just east of Rt 35, and between Oltorf & Riverside Dr.

What can you tell me about this area? Are the houses more affordable over there? What about renting-wise? I only had about an hour to explore before it got dark, but I LOVED it. I'm going back tomorrow to check it out further.

When I visited last year, I drove around east of the downtown area, and I really didn't like it at all. So, I haven't really been thinking about buying or renting a place east. I'm starting to re-think that!
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Old 07-16-2008, 02:02 PM
 
Location: central Austin
7,150 posts, read 13,082,750 times
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Some folks call that Travis Height East! It is part of the same neighborhood association as Travis Heights, South River City Citizens. Google it. It is a nice area and home prices are lower than in Travis Heights or Sherwood Oaks (south of Oltorf but west of 35). There are rentals and duplexes in the area.
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Old 07-16-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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My husband and I rented half a duplex there for 8 or 9 months. I know that it is currently available for rent, as we moved out in March and then our landlord did some extensive work. It is a 2 bed, 2 bath unit, one story. The other half is a 1 bed, 1 bath unit, currently occupied by a friend of ours.

I liked being there, so close to downtown, where I work. But it can be noisy at night; it's a fast-car favorite, especially with stereo blasting or muffler amplified.

The houses there are great, some nice stuff at Woodland and Cedar Park or whatever it's called, Matagorda, Sylvan, lots of nice streets there. But we couldn't afford to buy anything there; what we could afford had SERIOUS foundation problems or other issues. In the end, we decided we wanted something we could not afford in Austin, so we moved out to a small town, Taylor, and we love it. I'm now a commuter.

If you don't want to commute, the neighborhood is great. But you will have to spend more than we could to find something that doesn't have issues. If it's under $200,000, it needs a lot of work. In fact, if it's $250,000, it will need a lot of work! Too rich for our blood.... I won't accept the "everything east of 35 has foundation issues" statement. If I wanted a movable foundation, I'd live in a trailer.

If you want to know more about the rental--it was a good one, covered parking, laundry, PM me.

Last edited by schoenfraun; 07-16-2008 at 03:13 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 07-17-2008, 04:13 PM
 
Location: SoCal
2,262 posts, read 6,415,814 times
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Thanks, schoenfraun!

Well we rented a house over there. So, we'll see. We also looked at a house for sale that was open 'cause some guys were working on it. It was mostly pretty awesome. It was 2700 sq ft and $299K (and 3 minutes to downtown). HOWEVER, it had the "foundation issues" that you mentioned. Huge cracks in the walls and you could see cracks in the foundation too. I discovered (by people tellilng me) that the area is built over a fault line. Hopefully we won't fall into it whilst renting!
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Old 07-17-2008, 05:27 PM
 
187 posts, read 776,566 times
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I guess coming from So California, $299 probably doesn't seem like much for a 2700 sf house.... I know real estate is super-expensive there. When we moved into that rental, we had just come from a Midwestern college town where we had a cute 2bed, 1bath house, 1920s, hardwood floors throughout, and we had bought it in 2001 for $68,000! So you can imagine our sticker shock here in Austin!

We also were not happy with the whole slab foundation thing in Austin. We come from a basement land. And in the Midwest, a house with foundation problems is a house to stay the heck away from. Here, people seem to just shrug it off, it's a part of everyday life. But as I said in my previous post, I don't accept that.

So we found a house out here that's pier-and-beam foundation, and it is solid as can be.

I know our landlord paid $200,000 for that duplex with the foundation problems in June '07, and she just spent more than $17,000 to have new piers poured under the terribly cracked slab. It was a great apartment, but it was like a funhouse in there--the slope was more than 14 inches from one end of the apartment to the other, and more than 8 inches in just the living room alone! It's much improved since she had it fixed.

I noticed in that neighborhood that most houses have visible foundation problems, just looking at them from the street. Apart from the drag racing strip outside my window at night, the location can't be beat.

It's definitely an east-of-35 phenomenon, the bad foundations, but I've seen it in places like Western Trails, too, near the so. Central Market. It's an Austin problem...or a Texas problem, I'm not sure. I saw a place for sale on Sylvan last fall that was amaaaaaazing, but its foundation issues were so bad that the realtors' engineering report called it "irreparable." And it was for sale for more than $260,000.

Congratulations on finding the rental, and good luck on the move.
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Old 07-17-2008, 06:15 PM
 
Location: SoCal
2,262 posts, read 6,415,814 times
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$299K is a lot of money, but compared to a 2700 sq ft house in, say 78704, well, it's cheap! So, it's all perspective.

I'm originally from Boston and lived there most of my life, and we also had basements. I was bummed about the lack of them in SoCal AND in Austin, HOWEVER I'd never had a garage in Boston either. And I think I'd rather have a garage than a basement, depending on the basement. All the ones I had were super creepy/horror movie basements, heh. Going down there to do laundry was kinda terrifying when there might be a crazy woman with a knife locked in a secret basement room that you'd never noticed before.

Most of the houses in the Boston area that I lived in were kind of sunken in the middle (one house we called the "Tim Burton" house because of the crazy angled doorways. This was back when Tim Burton was good) and most of them had huge posts put in in the basement to re-inforce them.

My realtor told me they managed a duplex in 78701 for a guy and they recommended 10 or 20 years ago that he fix the foundation for about $2,200 but he didn't want to spend the cash. Now, it's over $15,000 to fix it! Yikes.

Can I ask what street you were on that had the drag racing?
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:49 PM
 
187 posts, read 776,566 times
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I lived on Woodland, a couple of blocks east of Parker. Totally great, totally safe neighborhood. Great houses. Lots of fast cars, traveling loudly and faaaaaassssst--and did I say loud?--between the exit off of 35 and, well, whatever is at the east of Woodland, where it Ts into something...that, if you head south, connects you to Riverside. You can take that to go to the HEB...I lived there 8 months, and I rarely went east of my apartment! I went to the HEB at Oltorf and Congress, which is hell on earth....

As you head into the absurdly overpriced and overhyped Travis Heights, Woodland becomes Annie, and hits S Congress in hipster central. I think 78704 is insanely overpriced and overhyped. But yes, it is all perspective. 78704 makes 78741 look like a great real estate giveaway, in some respects.
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Old 07-17-2008, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,413 posts, read 37,807,118 times
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If the "fault line" they were talking about is the Balcones Fault, it runs all up and down IH35, not just under that house.
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Old 07-18-2008, 02:31 AM
 
Location: SoCal
2,262 posts, read 6,415,814 times
Reputation: 953
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasHorseLady View Post
If the "fault line" they were talking about is the Balcones Fault, it runs all up and down IH35, not just under that house.
Yes, she mentioned that all (or most) of the houses on that area are on the fault line. ARGH! And just when we thought we found a secret jewel.
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Old 07-18-2008, 02:42 AM
 
Location: SoCal
2,262 posts, read 6,415,814 times
Reputation: 953
Quote:
Originally Posted by schoenfraun View Post
I went to the HEB at Oltorf and Congress, which is hell on earth....
Why is it hell on earth?! Oh no! Do they deliver groceries at all? Is it the HEB or Whole Foods and nothing else?

Also, how do you pronounce "HEB?" Is it like "Jeb?"

There are certain words that I love and hate at the same time. Like "palpable." HEB is one of them. I literally have to say it out loud every time I drive by one.
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