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Old 12-10-2012, 09:38 AM
 
10 posts, read 29,496 times
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We're looking to re-lo to the Eanes area from the Bay Area. I know the Lost Creek/Barton Creek West area will be annexed in 2015 and MUD taxes will increase about $1800 annually. It also appears Travis County taxes for that area is on the lower side, compared to other areas of Austin with good schools.
I'm wondering if someone can kindly give me an idea of monthly averages for utilities, water, alarm system, cable/wireless, house cleaners, landscapers, cell service, cost of putting kids in Little League, soccer, etc. Average hourly rate for sitters? Any other costs for running a house that are specific to Austin? ie: must have pest control due to fire ants, etc. etc. House being 2500 sq ft or less. Family of four. Trying to get an idea of what our monthly budget might be there.

Thanks in advance, I appreciate it.
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
9,210 posts, read 18,045,499 times
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My info is for Lost Creek, not sure about Barton Creek West.

The tax situation is approximately like you describe -- upon annexation, the MUD tax will go away and be replaced with the city tax, which is higher. The net increase in property taxes is probably around what you quoted. The county tax is not different from anywhere else in the county, but the Eanes ISD rate is indeed lower than most of the surrounding school districts (likely because of the high value of the homes in the area, the rate doesn't have to be as high to make the needed revenue). Also I believe the annexation takes place Dec 31 2015, which means the first year the Austin taxes take effect would be 2016. So you might have an extra year with the lower taxes vs. what you had planned.

As far as utilities -- unfortunately this varies quite a bit due to the different styles and ages of the homes. Your biggest utility will be electricity, and it will be the highest in the peak of summer (June-Sept). When we first moved in, our 3000 sq ft 80's home ran about $400 in electricity for the hottest month of the summer. After some energy effeciency upgrades and a replacement on one A/C unit, it's down to about $280 max. Average throughout the year probably works out to $170 or so.

Water: $50-70 per month. Again, higher in the summer months due to landscape/grass watering.

Gas: So little it's hardly worth mentioning. Maybe $20 per month most of the year due to hot water and cooking. Higher in the month or so during winter where you'd actually use the heater.

Cable: In Lost Creek, some areas only have Time Warner as an option. Others have TW or U-Verse by AT&T. We've got TW and it's between $89-129 per month for digital cable w/HD, phone, and internet. No premium channels.

Pest control: You'll want this, not for fire ants but for the other critters you get living near the greenbelts and hills west of Austin. We use ABC with a maintenance agreement. Costs about $108 per quarter.

House cleaners: Same as anywhere else in Austin. Perhaps $100-200 per visit for a <2500 sq ft home.

Landscapers: Maybe 40-60 per visit. Figure twice a month during spring and summer.

I don't have any info on the kid/babysitting stuff, sorry.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:07 AM
 
51 posts, read 107,251 times
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Default recent comparison

We moved to Westlake area over the summer from Marin.
Costs for kids' activities are the same/slightly cheaper (10-20%) compared to the Bay Area.
Gas is about $1/gallon less than BA.
Groceries are only same/slightly cheaper (10%) compared to BA. (Safeway vs HEB).
You can find better bargains on household stuff (furniture, clothes, etc) in TX because there are more retailers/discounters compared to BA. It seemed difficult to find good deals in the BA, maybe due to fewer stores/more high end stuff.
Restaurants in TX are cheaper (20-30%).
My family is really enjoying Westlake area. It's a lot like Marin; lots of natural beauty (without the ocean nearby). People here seem less stressed out and preoccupied with work. We really enjoyed BA and liked the people there too, but the cost of living became too high. Main difference is cost of housing.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:09 AM
 
Location: SW Austin & Wimberley
6,325 posts, read 16,735,990 times
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Good info posted by the others.

I don't know about soccer, but we pay about $3,600/season for our daughter's club volleyball, not including 3 trips out of town and staying in hotels, eating out, etc, which probably adds another $1,000.

It's good that you're trying to calculate "Total Cost of Living". Many people don't do that. Especially when buying starter homes further out, they don't calculate commuting and toll costs + depreciation of vehicle, less time at home, etc.

Lost Creek is a supreme location, extremely convenient and close to both Eanes activities and downtown (Austin lifestyle stuff). Literally, you can be downtown in 7 minutes in normal traffic.

BCW is a bit further out, but you get a newer home, better chance for a flat lot/yard if that's important to you, and probably a better floor plan. Bee Caves Rd. is not an enjoyable driving experience though, but is tolerable if you're patient.

It's very likely that the available inventory will determine your ultimate decision. If, when you come to buy, there is limited choice, it may come down to the house itself. At present, there is only 1 Active listing in BCW, 1 Pending. There are 4 in LC, 3 Pending. Many of the Lost Creek homes have difficult 1970s/80s floorplans (boxy, dark) and steeply sloping lots. Brace yourself. But the location is so awesome you just have to weigh it all together.

Good luck.

Steve
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:23 AM
 
10 posts, read 29,496 times
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thanks all, this is all good info!
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