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Old 06-07-2011, 12:25 AM
 
10 posts, read 9,578 times
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After many hours of internet searching, I'm turning to City-Data Forum for help on trying to gleen more information about several areas. We don't like where we are living right now, so we have been looking for jobs elsewhere. So far, we have found good job matches in 3 places. Houston, Delaware City and Shreveport. We are a family of 5 with a house budget of around $300,000. Schools are really important since my kids are all school age. Things to do is also important. We really enjoy outdoor activities so that's also something to consider. Can you tell me what you like about the area you are from and what you don't like? I'm also posting this to the Philadelphia forum because I really liked the look of West Chester and the commute is doable.

All responses are really appreciated!

Oh and I want to live somewhere where people are nice and accepting of transplants.
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:20 AM
 
116 posts, read 239,110 times
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Well, depends what you like I suppose.
Delaware City obviously has the highest cost of living and the coldest winters out of the three places.
Houston and Shreveport would be very cheap in comparison.

The job market and cost of living to income ratio will be best in Houston, and second best in Shreveport. Shreveport is cheap, but the jobs don't pay as much. Although COL index will depend what profession you are in and what part of Houston you live in. Shreveport overall is the cheapest most likely, but Houston is a close second, but the question being can you find a job in Shreveport which will depend on your profession. All three places have good and bad schools, depending on what part of town you live in.
It will be the easiest to find good schools in the Houston area relative to the cheap price of homes (so cheaper with good schools too).

Shreveport will have tons of cheap homes, but you will have to be pickier about the area due to worse schools overall. I still think you can find an ok school district in Shreveport too, it will just be more limited overall. Delaware should have some good and bad schools, but you will PAY a lot MORE money for a home near a good school system in Delaware.

Shreveport has a semi-high unemployment rate if it mattters to you, but a lot of that is probably because Louisiana is a poor state overall, but Shreveport (IMHO) is the nicest city in the state.

Texas has no state income tax, but they do have higher property taxes which pretty much make up for having NO state income tax (unless you are a very high paid person in the 6 figure range, then I say the COL is way lower in Texas without the state income tax).

Still you will get a MUCH MUCH nicer home in Shreveport or Houston for the same price as in the DC or Delaware area (one of the most expensive housing area in the US).

If you like CITY living and suburban urbanite type stores or shopping, go to Delaware, you'll be near DC. Houston is the biggest SMALL city in the US, what I mean by that is the freaking city is like someone flattened it with a sledge hammer, it's so spread out and flat and suburban like!

Houston is mostly suburbian type areas, it lacks that urban city feel of the cities on the EAST COAST. You can't grab a $10 taxi in Houston and there aren't 5,000 shops in one part of town like in NY or Phili or DC. There is no subway, and the light rail is more of a tourist attraction than a useable form of transportation. You will need a car in Houston or Shreveport, but you might in Delaware too (no idea).

The downtown area of Houston has been improved somewhat, and don't get me wrong, there is plenty of stuff to do in Houston if you enjoy indoor type activies, but the outdoor stuff if mostly boring, and the weather usually stinks anyhow. The beaches to the south of Houston are ok to visit once in a while, but they are ugly in comparison to the beaches of the East Coast (although they are at least warmer).

For weather, Houston sux, it's too hot and humid. Houston is a BIG city with almost 6 million people including the surrounding areas, not sure about Delaware, but looks about the same once you count the Washington DC area, realizing that is a bit farther to the southwest.

There isn't much scenery near Houston or much outdoor activities as the weather is HOT. Houston is VERY far from the nearest mountains, the closest semi-mountains would be in SE Oklahoma, about a 350 mile driver to Talimena, OK area (a very desolate area most that most people don't even know exists, but extremely beautiful, especially in the FALL). These same mountains would only be a 2 hour drive from Shreveport to say Broken Bow, OK (the edge of the Ozarks). The talimena scenic drive are REAL mountains, even though it is in SE Oklahoma. They rise 2500 feet straight up from the valley floor and the views are very similar to the Appalachians, but it is a VERY limited area where these mountains exist (really one small part of Arkansas and OK). That said, for outdoors stuff, I much rather be in Shreveport than Houston, there are so many cool family friendly places near Shreveport (Hot Springs, AR... Broken Bow, OK.... Mena, AR - for scenery), and what not. Those places are all generally only a 3 hour drive or less, so you can do weekend excursions.

Not sure about the Delaware scenery, of course nice beach scenery, but not sure about mountains (probably the foothills of the Appalachians are about a 4 hour drive).

From Houston, there is the Hill country to the west of houston (200 miles) that is ok scenery and better for outdoors, but it isn't incredible or anything.

If you live in Houston and want to visit other URBAN areas, there is Austin that is only a 3.5 hour drive, and then there is Dallas that is a 4 hour drive (longer in traffic).

Farther west far from Houston (about 600 miles) you have the Fort Davis area where there are real mountains, but it still is nothing like Colorado or the rockies (although in a few places it gets close sort of). From Houston, you can make it to the NM rockies in a very long one-day drive (better to fly cheap). The New Mexico mountains in the Ruidoso area are about a 12 to 14 hour drive, but it is doable with two people.

Shreveport has tornado threats, occassional LIGHTsnowstorms (not very much snow at all, usually more ICE and sleet), and Delaware is the only one of the three places that has the REAL winters with occasional massive ice storms and blizzards. It has snowed in Houston a few times, but it only happens once every 8 years or so, unless you live way outside of town to the North (even then it isn't common at all).

Overall, I vote for Shreveport or Delaware, but the Houston economy is probably much stronger than either and more immune to recession.
Houston has hurricane threats, but at least you get warning ahead of time, unlike tornados (but on the other hand, Tornados aren't as bad in Shreveport as some places).

Regarding the Philly area, you won't get much for 300k home-wise either, but given the fall in real estate prices, you might find something (but I have my doubts).

You'll just do so much better in the SOUTH home wise for size and nicer areas for less money.

You might also consider Little ROCK, AR... Colorado Springs, CO... Austin, TX... Dallas, TX...

All those places have cheap homes right now, good schools, and plenty of jobs (although Colorado Springs would be much harder on the jobs, but it is a really cool place scenery and weather wise, and there are plenty of homes for aorund $300k or less in good school districts). Weather is cold at night in Colorado, but it warms up fast in the day time, plus your near Denver, and if you really want to get hotter weather outdoors, Pueblo is only a 1 hour drive and is often 10-20 degrees warmer (it can get to 70-80 in middle of winter in Pueblo, usually 50's to 60's though, but it gets VERY cold VERY fast at night in Colorado).

Personally, my choice would be Colorado Springs or Little Rock, AR if you really want outdoor activities and cheap homes, and definitely Shreveport, LA over your other choices.

Shreveport is not a bad choice, I'd just worry about the job market given the smaller size of the city.

Last edited by StuckInTexas; 06-07-2011 at 01:57 AM..
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:52 AM
 
10 posts, read 9,578 times
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Thanks a bunch for the great post! I live in OH right now and I just generally dislike it. I thought the weather would win out in Houston...lol! It sounds like you don't really like Houston. I'm guessing that is where you live. My husband is an engineer and there are job opportunities (specific jobs) for him in each place. I was worried that DE would be expensive but I looked on zillow and in some places in DE it looks like there is no property tax, but I could be totally wrong on that. I love a city feeling, but with kids I kinda put that on the back burner until they are grownup. My kids need room to run and play and like I said before, schools right now are super important.
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:24 AM
 
116 posts, read 239,110 times
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Houston is a good place to raise a family I suppose in several of the suburban areas, but I just hate the weather and scenery. Although hot weather is probably better for KIDS to some degree.
The biggest problem for ADULTS is the hot weather in the summer, it really can wear you out, although the kids can swim in Houston 6+ months of the year and they will probably love that aspect!

I actually live in Austin, not Houston, but am not a huge fan of either place. I grew up in Houston and lived there for 20+ years.

I should probably note that I have travelled all over the United States and been in almost every major city in every state (excluding only a few).
Houston is definitely not one of the worst places to live, but I'd have to say very average overall given the hot weather and hurricane threats and flooding.

Austin is slightly better, and Dallas is kind of in between. Houston and Dallas have much more crime than Austin, but there are safe areas in all the cities far enough away from the crime problems.
Dallas is way overdue for a major tornado to cut right through the middle of town (I am not wishing that at all though as I sometimes have to work in Dallas and that would destroy all my stuff, lol).

Austin has no real natural disasters, it can have tornados once every 10-20 years but most of the tornados are way outside of town 30+ miles usually.

Houston is a BIG engineering town with lots of jobs for engineers, but so is Dallas, and Austin has only a few. Dallas isn't really much better than Houston, but there are some nicer outdoors places not too far from Dallas. Austin is the most outdoorsy city in Texas, but harder to find a job and slightly more expenisve.
Most people would agree that Austin is the nicest big city in Texas, far better than Houston.
Houston is overall just an ugly place to me and the weather wears me down, the north part of the city does have pine trees at least.
It just depends what part of town you live at in each place.

If moving to Houston, I would go for the Kemah or South Shore Harbor area (Clear Lake Job Market), otherwise maybe the Woodlands or far NW part of town.
The best schools will be Friendswood, Pearland, Clear Creek / League City, Katy, and the Woodlands in the Houston area. I know I missed a few places, but those are generally the better ones I believe.

It was 105 in Houston the past 2 days, the heat index was over 120 in some parts of town (and it's only freaking June!), but that isn't normal, it was an all-time record high for June.
Still it gets VERY BAD sometimes.

Austin is just as hot (hotter in some ways), but not nearly as humid as Dallas or Houston.
We once had 60+ days over 100 degrees in Austin and Dallas, fun fun stuff!

Houston may only get to 95 a lot of times, but it's 95 with 80% humidity with a heat index of 150, lol.

Last edited by StuckInTexas; 06-07-2011 at 02:58 AM..
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Southeast TX
681 posts, read 754,848 times
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Houston is nice but StuckInTexas was right about the weather, it can get very brutal especially in the summer time. Close to the coast, great restaurants, diverse population, nice arts scene(nice theater and museum district), Entertainment for the family and beautiful suburban mega neighborhoods Houston is a nice place. The north side neighborhoods like the Woodlands, Kingwood and Conroe are nice with lots of trees. Tons of development are taking place in the Woodlands. Another good neighborhood is Sugarland on the SW side of town, its really nice there as well. For school districts all of the neighborhoods above have great school districts especially the Woodlands. And by you being a engineer you should not have a problem finding a job here. For $300,000 you can live just about anywhere you want in Houston. The housing market here is fairly cheap. You get more for your money here.

Here are some links of the neighborhoods that i mentioned:

The Woodlands - Texas' most celebrated master-planned community.

City of Sugar Land - One of America's Best - Offering recent news, streaming media, online tools and updates for Sugar Land residents and visitors.

Welcome to Kingwood Texas - www.Kingwood.com

and here are some links about Houston:

MyHouston: The Weekly H Archive

City of Houston eGovernment Center

Hope these links helped and good luck with your search.

Last edited by llmrkc07; 06-07-2011 at 06:41 AM..
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Old 06-07-2011, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Heights
594 posts, read 639,241 times
Reputation: 450
Quote:
Originally Posted by StuckInTexas View Post
Austin has no real natural disasters, it can have tornados once every 10-20 years but most of the tornados are way outside of town 30+ miles usually.
Except the one that was just about 9 years ago that went right up I-35. I was living there and stuck at work right off of I-35.

There is a lot of flash flooding as well and at least one person that thinks they can drive through the water. I haven't noticed as many incidences of this in Houston but it's only been about 2 years vs. 13 in Austin!


Quote:
Originally Posted by StuckInTexas View Post
Austin is the most outdoorsy city in Texas, but harder to find a job and slightly more expenisve.
This. Employers know people want to live there and many will take pay cuts to live there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by StuckInTexas View Post
It was 105 in Houston the past 2 days, the heat index was over 120 in some parts of town (and it's only freaking June!), but that isn't normal, it was an all-time record high for June.
Still it gets VERY BAD sometimes.
If you work 8-5 indoors you don't even notice it. Same goes for Austin though!


Quote:
Originally Posted by StuckInTexas View Post
Austin is just as hot (hotter in some ways), but not nearly as humid as Dallas or Houston.
We once had 60+ days over 100 degrees in Austin and Dallas, fun fun stuff!

Houston may only get to 95 a lot of times, but it's 95 with 80% humidity with a heat index of 150, lol.
The breeze off the gulf in Houston during the evenings is really nice. That is something Austin does not have.

Yes, it is hot but it's not unbearable. I like visiting snow/cold, not scraping it off my car and bundling up in layers.

Samantha: if you live near the Great Lakes in Ohio the summers there are a good idea of the heat/humidity in Austin. It is a bit more humid in Houston.
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:36 PM
 
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I thought that being further south away from nasty winters would mean more time outdoors. It sounds like your heat is almost as rough as our winters. But then I was thinking, with temps like that, you could just practically live at the pool. My kids love the water so that wouldn't bother them a bit! I read that with heat indexes so high you have to be careful about being outside too long in it. That is sorta like our wind chills in the winter. Guess it's like a reverse, here we stay inside in the winter, there you stay inside in the summer.

I see lots of homes in Houston have backyard pools and I'm wondering if it's hard and expensive to take of them. Is it worth the work and money to have your own?

llmrkc07, thanks for the links you sent in your post. All three of those places look like nice places to live. The houses are a great price. I like look of the older homes. They are totally different than our homes here. The homes here are kinda plain compared to your 1970's homes there. Really pretty homes with all the trim and built-ins. Funny tho to see so many fireplaces.

Houston has loads of industry with lots of jobs for my husband so that sorta tips the scales to Houston. What do people in Houston think of liberal northerners moving into their town?
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:11 PM
 
133 posts, read 142,407 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamanthaWare View Post
I thought that being further south away from nasty winters would mean more time outdoors. It sounds like your heat is almost as rough as our winters. But then I was thinking, with temps like that, you could just practically live at the pool. My kids love the water so that wouldn't bother them a bit! I read that with heat indexes so high you have to be careful about being outside too long in it. That is sorta like our wind chills in the winter. Guess it's like a reverse, here we stay inside in the winter, there you stay inside in the summer.
I moved down here from Wichita KS. The winters weren't as bad there as further north but they had some pretty nasty ice and snow storms there. Your comments about staying inside in Texas during the summer and inside in northern states during the winter is pretty accurate to an extent. But the key difference is that you can still get in your car and drive around down here in the summer. When there's ice and snow in your northern winters, you're stuck where ever you are.

Quote:
I see lots of homes in Houston have backyard pools and I'm wondering if it's hard and expensive to take of them. Is it worth the work and money to have your own?
Not too hard to take care of them. It will cost you about $100/mth extra in the summer and about 1/3 that in the winter. The cost of chemicals is a part of it, but the electricity for running the pump 8-12 hrs./day will get you up there. You can try running it less but you'll be fighting algae every other week.

Quote:
llmrkc07, thanks for the links you sent in your post. All three of those places look like nice places to live. The houses are a great price. I like look of the older homes. They are totally different than our homes here. The homes here are kinda plain compared to your 1970's homes there. Really pretty homes with all the trim and built-ins. Funny tho to see so many fireplaces.
Those are mostly for looks. Most are not ever real fireplaces. They typically have gas and fake logs. They are not constructed to run real fires with real logs. Just a fake little dura log at any given time.

Quote:
Houston has loads of industry with lots of jobs for my husband so that sorta tips the scales to Houston. What do people in Houston think of liberal northerners moving into their town?
Depends on the liberal. Yankees come in many different flavors. Some come here, love it, and fit right in. Others come here and whine endlessly about how much better everything was back north. Those guys are welcome to move back north any time they like.

But remember the key. This is Texas. You will see people with guns. Do not whine about the abundance of guns because it's freakin Texas. This is where guns belong.

If you want to come to Houston, you are very welcome. If you like (or can at least tolerate) barbeque, Mexicans, pickup trucks, guns, heat, fire ants, hurricanes, and a lesbian mayor... you will fit right in. I love all those things except for the fire ants and hurricanes so I like it here. YMMV.
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:19 PM
 
133 posts, read 142,407 times
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Oh yeah, not sure if anybody mentioned it but Houston is reported to have one of the best theater districts around, second only to NYC. So if you're into that... check it out. I'm not but have a few friends who are and they frequent the plays in both Houston and some place in Galveston.
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:38 PM
 
1,155 posts, read 1,719,896 times
Reputation: 1262
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamanthaWare View Post
I thought that being further south away from nasty winters would mean more time outdoors. It sounds like your heat is almost as rough as our winters. But then I was thinking, with temps like that, you could just practically live at the pool. My kids love the water so that wouldn't bother them a bit! I read that with heat indexes so high you have to be careful about being outside too long in it. That is sorta like our wind chills in the winter. Guess it's like a reverse, here we stay inside in the winter, there you stay inside in the summer.

I see lots of homes in Houston have backyard pools and I'm wondering if it's hard and expensive to take of them. Is it worth the work and money to have your own?

llmrkc07, thanks for the links you sent in your post. All three of those places look like nice places to live. The houses are a great price. I like look of the older homes. They are totally different than our homes here. The homes here are kinda plain compared to your 1970's homes there. Really pretty homes with all the trim and built-ins. Funny tho to see so many fireplaces.

Houston has loads of industry with lots of jobs for my husband so that sorta tips the scales to Houston. What do people in Houston think of liberal northerners moving into their town?
Hi, I'm a liberal northerner who has happily moved to Houston. Yes, it's bloody hot in the summer. But overall I like the weather.

We have two little kids. We have a neighborhood pool that I love going to. It's fun and we see friends and neighbors there, drink beer, listen to music, relax. It would be nice to have a backyard pool, but it would be much more costly, and if we wanted friends to swim with us, we would have to invite them over every time and feed and water them. I like to entertain, but not every weekend. We are social and therefore prefer the neighborhood pool.

I think I heard $35/month for pool maintenance... don't know if that's exactly right. We pay $100 for use of our neighborhood pool, May-October. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, I guess.

If you move to Houston, choose your neighborhood carefully. A long commute will suck the life out of you. Make sure there are like-minded people in your neighborhood; it makes such a difference to have friends, versus annoyances, nearby.

Good luck!
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