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Old 05-18-2007, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Rural Central Texas
3,163 posts, read 5,817,599 times
Reputation: 4416

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In 1998 I bought 4.5 acres along FM 969, just inside Bastrop county and put a 2500sqft house on it for $130K. All my neighbors are on 5-25 acre tracts and I have easy access to Austin, Bastrop and Elgin. Under 30 mins to any downtown area, 15 mins to some.

I like living east of Austin because costs are significanly lower for the land and the traffic is still much lighter than on the west and north sides. The down side is resale may be more difficult in the short term due to lower demand (thus the lower prices and fewer traffic problems).

The west side is prettier in most cases. I would love to live on one of those hills if I could move it to this side of town. lol

In case you have any school age children, I was advised on my move to the Austin area by someone who was in a position to know and consequently not supposed to say anything, that I need to consider the school districts, their demographics, and my income level. Children of privilidged two high income homes tend to be very hard on mid level and single income household children due to their diverse economic opportunities. She advise me that "often children in the more economically advantaged areas of the west side are provided with cars and money beyond the wisdom of their years upon entering high school and this often leads to problems beyond the schools ability to manage." She would not advise me to a specific school district, but she did point to Elgin, Manor, Bastrop and Hutto as potential choices for a quality education without many of the distractions available in other school districts at the time. This was a major incentive in my original move into the rural areas outside of Manor. My son Graduated Manor highschool and my daughter is now attending Elgin High school. Neither has had any problems at either district.

Utilities are also significant. Bluebonnet Electric coop is usually rated as one of the lower cost utility companies in the state. Aqua water is not cheap, but it is also not as high as many I have dealt with in San Antonio, Atascosa County and Austin City.

TV and Internet can be a problem in the rural areas, but I like satelite (DISH and DTV both have been good for me) and there are some wireless internet providers (WISP) that provide high bandwidth, lower cost internet options. I use PVCO in my area and have been very happy with them. They try to lower expectations of service by warning you about the inherent problems with Wireless based service and their limited staff, but they have consistently provided me with service and product well in excess of their promises. I have had fewer outages with them than I did with my cable provider in Huntsville Alabama.

Good Luck on your seach. Hope you find something that fits all your needs and your pocketbook.
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Old 05-23-2007, 06:47 PM
 
2 posts, read 13,121 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmoo View Post
What a great forum this is - I've been reading all morning!

I am interested in relocating to the Austin area. I currently live in rural IL on a few acres and want to retain that feel (privacy, few/no neighbors, zoning for animals) - but, would like to be near a major city. My husband is an artist and we're both vegetarians, and that lifestyle doesn't jive with rural IL in any way! So I'm hoping Austin can offer a nice compromise of a semi-private rural lifestyle but convenient to civilization.

We are looking for 2-10 acres, ideally within 25 miles of the city (up to 40 would not be bad). Would like to keep the budget under $225k, give or take. That seems pretty feasible given what I see on the MLS, but does anyone have some suggestions on areas to visit next month when we come down?

We have no kids so schools are not important. We do have lots of animals (chickens, horses, etc) so zoning is important. I loathe subdivisions and HOA's.

So far, everything points to the Manor/Elgin area. Does that sound right, and would anyone have any other suggestions? Thanks so much, in advance!!


I just signed up, but I could have written the above. Please post if you find an area somewhere between Austin, Houston, San Antonio, in the Hill country. Same for us but one child. Ranch style house. Acreage with a hill for the house (must have a view) -NO- neighbors. I also loathe subdv. & HOA's also, or anyone trying to tell me what to do, or you can or can't do. IL./Blowyabich is killing me.....

Good luck.
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:08 PM
 
98 posts, read 323,781 times
Reputation: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by LookingtoTexas View Post
I just signed up, but I could have written the above. Please post if you find an area somewhere between Austin, Houston, San Antonio, in the Hill country. Same for us but one child. Ranch style house. Acreage with a hill for the house (must have a view) -NO- neighbors. I also loathe subdv. & HOA's also, or anyone trying to tell me what to do, or you can or can't do. IL./Blowyabich is killing me.....

Good luck.
Hi Looking! Oh come on, who doesnt love our fraudulent lil gov?

The consensus from the great people on this board is that East of Austin is rural, acreage is affordable, and a quick jaunt into Austin, or a commute, is totally possible. Homes to the West are more expensive, but the terrain is more attractive. (Did I get it right, locals?)

The only thing I can't figure out is that every house I look at online, no matter the acreage, seems to be listed as inside a subdivision. Is this a Texas thing? In IL, the only homes (under $700k) in subdivisions are on tiny little lots in cramed little cul de sacs, built by the same builder, etc. I'm looking at houses on 25 acres that claim to be in a subdivision & that confuses my Illinois brain!
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:33 PM
 
2 posts, read 13,121 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmoo View Post
Hi Looking! Oh come on, who doesnt love our fraudulent lil gov?

The consensus from the great people on this board is that East of Austin is rural, acreage is affordable, and a quick jaunt into Austin, or a commute, is totally possible. Homes to the West are more expensive, but the terrain is more attractive. (Did I get it right, locals?)

The only thing I can't figure out is that every house I look at online, no matter the acreage, seems to be listed as inside a subdivision. Is this a Texas thing? In IL, the only homes (under $700k) in subdivisions are on tiny little lots in cramed little cul de sacs, built by the same builder, etc. I'm looking at houses on 25 acres that claim to be in a subdivision & that confuses my Illinois brain!

Hehe, I kind of noticed that also (the subdv. listings). Yet I know from traveling thru Texas you see small ranches and acreages set back off the road, a ways from the next house/neighbor all the time. I've already chalked it up to them just pushing the in town/subdivision stuff. People like us are out of the norm, wanting to be secluded. Not enough market for them to mess with. Most drones want to live in cookiecutter sheeple neighborhoods. I'm into cars and another un-pc interest & frequent other boards where a lot of people are from Texas, they say you see a lot of FSBO's on the "type" home/acreage I've been describing. I'm gathering info from several different venues and will share it here to verify legitimacy & compare notes as time goes on. Stay tuned. (Yeah, that little corrupt nazi destroyed my main line of work with insane fee increases, so I bet you can think what I'm thinking I'd like to see happen to him....) One things' for sure, Chicago is not getting ANY more of my money, I'm tired of living in middle IL. and being victim of ultra-corrupt Chicago. Not to mention winter of any sort....
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Hutto, Tx
8,642 posts, read 16,407,714 times
Reputation: 2332
I live in Hutto, and there are quite a few FSBO's out around here. Drive any of the back roads here between Georgetown, Taylor, Thrall, Granger, Bastrop, or Elgin and there are homes with neighbors few and far between. They are not in subdivisions. Although there is one just a tiny bit north of hutto on one of the little county roads, mostly very large homes with lots of land, but it looks like affluent ranchers live there. Unfortunately, unless you do a lot of homework, a few of these homes are being encroached upon by suburban sprawl, so make sure there is not a planned community nearby, or not any planned.
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Coffee Bean
611 posts, read 1,023,566 times
Reputation: 681
Quote:
Originally Posted by love roses View Post
I live in Hutto, and there are quite a few FSBO's out around here. Drive any of the back roads here between Georgetown, Taylor, Thrall, Granger, Bastrop, or Elgin and there are homes with neighbors few and far between. They are not in subdivisions. Although there is one just a tiny bit north of hutto on one of the little county roads, mostly very large homes with lots of land, but it looks like affluent ranchers live there. Unfortunately, unless you do a lot of homework, a few of these homes are being encroached upon by suburban sprawl, so make sure there is not a planned community nearby, or not any planned.
Love Roses - I didn't know you live in Hutto! We're practically neighbors!

Anyway - I agree with you. I actually have a friend who lives just east of Elgin out on the country roads (just off of FM 696 near Lexington) and she bought about 12 acres with a nice ~1900 sq. ft. home, a barn on the property and a nice creek running through the middle of it for ~$90K. I was shocked when she told me how much she paid for it all. You can't get a cardboard box in Austin for that, much less land!

It is kind of flat out that way - but her land is very pretty. She worked in central Austin and I think the commute took her ~ 1 hr. each way. She said it was worth it to have her own land. There are lots of other places that Love Roses recommended that you could check out.

I'm not sure I would recommend west of Austin because of the urban sprawl thing (it seems to be a little slower out east, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time before the blob that is becoming Austin swallows the eastern countryside too).

The Georgetown and Hutto areas are developing quickly (we have an IKEA now!!), but if you go at least 10-15 miles away from I35 (east or west), you should be able to keep your nice rural setting for a few more years before they slap a tollroad in your front yard. Just remember - Georgetown and Hutto are already at least 20-30 min. away from the Austin city limits on a good day with no traffic, so any farther out you go will add time to your commute if you work in Austin.

Good luck!
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:41 PM
 
4,045 posts, read 6,340,436 times
Reputation: 1656
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmoo View Post
Hi Looking! Oh come on, who doesnt love our fraudulent lil gov?

The consensus from the great people on this board is that East of Austin is rural, acreage is affordable, and a quick jaunt into Austin, or a commute, is totally possible. Homes to the West are more expensive, but the terrain is more attractive. (Did I get it right, locals?)

The only thing I can't figure out is that every house I look at online, no matter the acreage, seems to be listed as inside a subdivision. Is this a Texas thing? In IL, the only homes (under $700k) in subdivisions are on tiny little lots in cramed little cul de sacs, built by the same builder, etc. I'm looking at houses on 25 acres that claim to be in a subdivision & that confuses my Illinois brain!

If you want to find land using the austinhomesearch.com website, you need to do the land search and the farm/ranch search.
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Old 08-07-2007, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Cedar Park, TX
7 posts, read 17,707 times
Reputation: 15
Smile relocating to acreage

We live in Cedar Park, TX (have two children) and want to move on a few acres. I have been looking out northwest (somewhat astronomical) and toward Georgetown, TX. The prices level out up in Liberty Hill, Leander, but the commute is longer. Marble Falls and Kingsland used to be economical, but California is trickling into the area and prices are going up. Most of the new students this year at our Elementary school were from California. Half of my son's second grade class was from California. Cedar Park is growing so fast. This is our sixth year here. We moved from north Austin. I think that we moved out this north west direction to be closer to the lake. Our home is 5 minutes from Cypress Marina to enter Lake Travis.

I petsit for clients and friends and really love the Bastrop woods. I have a customer out there in the back of the Bastrop State Park on 10 acres with a flock of sheep, dogs, and an approximately 1900 sq ft home with a cool porch all the way around it. It is to die for. When I go out there to feed animals, I don't want to leave. I believe she got it for 150K a few years back. There are similar properties for sale out that way and the commute is about 40 minutes to the Austin Bergstrom Airport. The piney woods are a really great kept secret. I know many folks in Austin who have never been to Bastrop. shh... The Houston Toads (endangered species) are out at night croaking and hopping around from pond to pond. Lots of ponds out in those woods. Very pretty area. My kids enjoy driving down the roads and sometimes I stop to let them pick up pine cones.

Elgin, TX is also a sweet small town with a short commute. The only thing to keep in mind is that it is the direction of Houston, TX - so many folks commute from Houston to Austin right through Elgin. I love Elgins little down town area and older homes. We have some friends around that town with horses.

We have a friend on 10 acres in Manor, TX too. They have a goat farm and a barn and nice home that they built. They want to move farther out of town. Manor is almost too close to town for them. There is a new Major Movie Studio in the works to be built out that way in the future that will be bring many more planned communities. Elgin, TX will probably feel too
close to town when that happens.

I have friends who work at the Austin Bergstom Airport. One lady lives with her family out in Cedar Creek, TX on the way to Bastrop. She has dogs, cats, chickens, land, and a big house. She's from Tennesse and loves Cedar Creek because it is quiet the way she likes it. There are many homes on acres sprinkled around that way.

We are in love with the Briar Cliff neighborhood, but when we drive out that way - it just seems to have exploded with homes all over the hills. We love the lake. Pace Bend Park is up that way and Briar Cliff - well - good ol Willie Nelson made that place popular. He lives and plays golf out that way.

Oak Hill is sweet when you get farther out onto the acreage areas. The "Y" area has exploded. The city is growing and growing. We love the "Back Yard" and have been to many concerts there and its on Hwy 71, but it used to seem so far out and now civilization is creeping up on all the cool places.

I wish that we could live near the river, but the homes are too expensive for our budget. It doesn't keep us from going to "Ski Shores" on the River - down by City Park (public park off of 360.) You can have a great bite to eat - low key - wear casual clothes - listen to live music - let your kids run in the yard - watch the boaters pull up for a bite - or just drink a beer. Everytime, we go there, we wished that we lived on that street.

I sold a table and chairs on Craigslist to a young man who just got here two weeks ago with his family from San Francisco, CA. He said that the realestate agent mainly showed him Pflugerville and Round Rock, TX as far as nice homes to purchase. He drove over to our home in Cedar Park and said that he wished that he would have checked out Cedar park first. He said that the real estate agent never showed him Cedar Park. There are even nice homes on acres in Georgetown and Salado, TX. We have been researching a little because we are tired of living in a subdivision with an HOA. My kids want a tree house and I want more animals. If we make a change, it will probably be something we find ourselves. We know from living here that anything east of IH35 doesn't have the same resale value, but that is where the peace and quiet seem to be lately. Liberty Hill and farther out from there are quiet too. Between Elgin and Bastrop are pretty too. There's a road that takes you the back way from Elgin to Bastrop and there are sweet places out that way, but also a prison that no one talks about and a military artillary range. That is what keeps us from looking seriously out that way. I've rambled on too long. Take care.


wanting out of Cedar Park, TX
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Old 08-07-2007, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Driftwood TX
390 posts, read 1,055,141 times
Reputation: 119
Few topics fall closer to my heart than this.. check out Driftwood.. (and of course parts of Dripping Springs) Mostly around FM1826, FM967,FM150 etc)
Acreage from 5 to 30 acres plus home is pretty common round here (for now that is) but going up in price VERY fast..

So, if you want :
No cookie cutter,
No HOA
No visible neighbors
Horses,
Hills,
Creeks (that you cant use unless you own them)
No light pollution (yet)

You might take a look, but again, its all going very fast AND there are definate downsides to this "style" of Texas living (eg driving 10 min to get ANYTHING..driving 45 to downtown and the whole "critter" thread etc etc)

We got our house on about 30 acres back in 1999 and so far still love it..
Cheers
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:29 PM
 
273 posts, read 905,412 times
Reputation: 85
You also might want to check out a few horse forums (COTH or The Outside Course) as I seem to remember reading that the ground is a little more "horse friendly" out east; softer, sandier... Out west it definitely gets rockier. Don't take my word for it though, check around, I've had a tough time digging up horse info for the Austin area.
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