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Old 02-01-2015, 07:47 PM
 
207 posts, read 352,636 times
Reputation: 52

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Hi everyone,

We previously lived in NWA and are thinking of moving back or maybe to Texas. We are in Missouri now and it's too cold with too much crime, as well as too expensive, here so we are trying to decide where to go that is the best 'fit' for us.

First of all, we are on a very tight budget. We work from home and need good internet access as well as the lowest rent possible. Our last place in NWA was a little over $600 for a 2BR AND that included utilities (before that we had one for $450 plus for a 2 BR).

We are also a homeschooling family, are into natural health (so we need access to good health food stores and chiropractors, etc.), we are Republican (with a slight Libertarian streak sometimes), we are musicians (so we would like access to restaurants and other family-friendly places to perform occasionally as well as songwriters groups), and we would like to eventually have a small hobby farm and raise chickens, dogs, etc. We would like to also have access to midwives fairly easily who attend home birth if possible.

We had issues with mold in apartments in NWA but are worried we might have that in TX as well. We can't afford somewhere like AZ (and the lack of water out west concerns us). We looked at OK but are worried about tornadoes. I know in AR the homeschool laws are different as you have to report and test.

Do you think we should move back to Northwest Arkansas or would Texas be a better fit for us?

Thank you!

Last edited by movingagain2012; 02-01-2015 at 07:56 PM..
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Old 02-01-2015, 09:19 PM
 
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I have no clue what the HS laws are in AR but if you look into it, TX has some of the most homeschool-friendly laws of any state. That part won't be an issue. Austin also has a large number of homeschooling families of every possible stripe. The Science and Nature center offers science classes for homeschoolers (or those who can make it during the day), even. There are numerous groups that you can plug into. If homeschooling were a main consideration, I would vote for TX (though, admittedly, I have no idea how things are in AR).

Your issue would be the one about tight budget plus mold, if you have allergies. Mold gets bad here after it rains and especially if the temps go up a little.

The amount you paid is less than half the average rent for an apartment. If you are able to widen your search to outlying areas of Austin, it may be more likely to reach that amount but I'm still not sure you would. It wouldn't affect the homeschool issue since there are groups in areas like Bastrop, Kyle, San Marcos, Dripping Springs, Round Rock, Cedar Park, etc.

A friend of mine is living in an apartment temporarily while their home is being built. Their landlord left them without hot water for 2 weeks, then they started having issues with plumbing for 2-3 weeks (sewage literally backed up into their bathtub). They've reported it to the city entity that handles that sort of thing but they've not been compensated beyond 2 weeks' rent. I hope that their issue isn't common! Since you mentioned issues though, I thought I'd bring it up.

When you're ready for your hobby farm, you'll find that you'll again have to look in outskirts. You'll want to be aware of City of Austin zoning laws concerning chickens (legal, but with regulations and I doubt HOAs are ok with it). I have a friend whose husband started an aquaponics farm a couple of years ago out in Dale, TX. The commute to town isn't great but since she works weekends it's not bad and the land was inexpensive compared to anything in Travis county.

There are two People's Pharmacies in Austin and I don't think you would have too much difficulty finding a naturopath or more. There are many birthing centers with midwives and doulas here, too.

Texas birthed Ron Paul, so...there's your politics, in a highly simplistic POV. Also Wholefoods but that's pricey. There are many CSAs, many farmers markets, natural grocery stores and co-ops. The outdoors here are great: plenty of opportunity for nature study. A drive north to DFW or south to Houston will get you to great museums, cultural experiences, science museums, etc.

I know there's lots of live music so it stands to reason they get together but I'm not in that scene so I can't say for sure.

Look up rent for places around Austin. Check a map for an idea of surrounding areas and then look for rental rates there also. I think if you have an idea of your housing costs then you have a starting point that's realistic. But...realistically I don't know that there's a place that would be that low.
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Old 02-01-2015, 09:32 PM
 
Location: central Austin
7,149 posts, read 13,080,861 times
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If your budget is tight and mold allergies is an issue, then Austin is not for you.

Average rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in Austin is $1200. Even in outlying areas, rent, especially for homes will be far above your budget and in those more distant places apartments are hard to come by.

For sure, the overall cost of living in Austin will be higher than NW AK and your current location in Missouri.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:59 AM
 
1,509 posts, read 1,400,620 times
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I can't even imagine considering Austin if you think Missouri is expensive.
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:46 AM
 
207 posts, read 352,636 times
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Thank you to all who answered. The only thing I could find in our budget was around San Marcos, Copperas Cove or Killeen-Temple area, but those were just 1BR anyway. I also found a couple of places outside of Fort Worth but had been told 'Austin is THE place for musicians' so I just wanted to double-check. It appears that Austin will be a no-go for us then, even on the outskirts. Thanks again!
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Old 02-02-2015, 06:22 PM
 
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If it's too cold in Missouri, won't it also be too cold in Northwestern Arkansas? That's only a few hundred miles away (max) from where you are now.

Texas is *great* for homeschooling. With your budget I'm not so sure you'd be able to afford any of the major metro areas, but you could probably get by for that rent in some of the towns in East Texas. Lot of homeschoolers, Republicans, etc. out there. Rents are going to be higher in Texas, but that's in part due to the property taxes being higher. It'd even out somewhat because there's no income tax in Texas. You'd keep more of your paycheck compared to Missouri/Arkansas, but spend more of it on rent or sales tax.

It's also going be warmer in East Texas than Missouri by quite a bit, so that part fits as well.
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:29 PM
 
207 posts, read 352,636 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadoAngel View Post
If it's too cold in Missouri, won't it also be too cold in Northwestern Arkansas? That's only a few hundred miles away (max) from where you are now.

Texas is *great* for homeschooling. With your budget I'm not so sure you'd be able to afford any of the major metro areas, but you could probably get by for that rent in some of the towns in East Texas. Lot of homeschoolers, Republicans, etc. out there. Rents are going to be higher in Texas, but that's in part due to the property taxes being higher. It'd even out somewhat because there's no income tax in Texas. You'd keep more of your paycheck compared to Missouri/Arkansas, but spend more of it on rent or sales tax.

It's also going be warmer in East Texas than Missouri by quite a bit, so that part fits as well.
Thank you ShadoAngel! Yes, it is still slightly cold to me in NWA during the winter, and you are correct that it is not that far from where we are now.

I have read that Texas is great for homeschooling and that they have a lot of groups and support there - that is wonderful! I haven't ruled out TX entirely, just mainly the big areas due to the higher rent that you mention. I have found some towns, believe it or not, that have lower rents - even in our price range! I just didn't want to have to be out in the middle of a very sparsely populated area and have to drive so far for basic shopping.

I will keep looking around the area, and thank you for reminding me of some good points about TX!
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Old 02-03-2015, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,738 posts, read 36,145,910 times
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OP, we live in northeast Texas, in the Tyler/Longview area.

We considered moving to the Hot Springs area of Arkansas last year but after researching it, we realized that even though it's a low cost of living area, the difference in taxes made it more expensive for us in the long run. Arkansas has a state income tax and Texas doesn't. Even with higher property taxes and sales taxes figured in, we were still coming up shorter in the long run due to the state income tax.

Texas has very friendly homeschooling laws. My daughter is homeschooling her three kids and is really enjoying it.

You don't have to live in a large metro area OR isolated rural area. Texas has many mid size towns and small cities that may fit the bill nicely. The ones I am most familiar with are in east Texas - Tyler, Longview, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, Waco, etc. This is a very pleasant area of Texas, with a good mixture of southern influence as well as Tex Mex. Great place to raise a family.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:13 PM
 
447 posts, read 579,667 times
Reputation: 788
Quote:
I have found some towns, believe it or not, that have lower rents - even in our price range! I just didn't want to have to be out in the middle of a very sparsely populated area and have to drive so far for basic shopping.
Kathryn is right, you don't have live in a big city or in the middle of nowhere - there are plenty of small and mid-sized cities in East Texas that would fit. If you want to research the area more, I'd suggest hitting up the Tyler, Texas subforum with specific questions/concerns. I grew up and was homeschooled in a smaller town in Northeast Texas and it was a pretty great experience all around.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:48 PM
 
207 posts, read 352,636 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
OP, we live in northeast Texas, in the Tyler/Longview area.

We considered moving to the Hot Springs area of Arkansas last year but after researching it, we realized that even though it's a low cost of living area, the difference in taxes made it more expensive for us in the long run. Arkansas has a state income tax and Texas doesn't. Even with higher property taxes and sales taxes figured in, we were still coming up shorter in the long run due to the state income tax.

Texas has very friendly homeschooling laws. My daughter is homeschooling her three kids and is really enjoying it.

You don't have to live in a large metro area OR isolated rural area. Texas has many mid size towns and small cities that may fit the bill nicely. The ones I am most familiar with are in east Texas - Tyler, Longview, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, Waco, etc. This is a very pleasant area of Texas, with a good mixture of southern influence as well as Tex Mex. Great place to raise a family.
Hi KathrynAragon! Thank you so much for these great suggestions - I will definitely check those out! I really loved Texas when we visited a few weeks ago, so this gives me some hope that we may still find something there for us.
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