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Old 12-29-2007, 10:44 AM
 
22 posts, read 59,074 times
Reputation: 10

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I am currently living with parents in Northern Virginia and it is time for me to move. Teacher salaries just cannot afford the housing market here nor do I want to stay here. After a lot of research, I narrowed my choices down to Texas, specifically around Round Rock, or South Carolina just outside Columbia.

I have a lot of questions I am trying to answer, as one should when moving for the first time. These are just a few:

1) The county I am moving from has the third longest commute time in the country, due to the excessive traffic in No. VA. A two mile drive takes 15+ minutes. I keep hearing the Austin traffic is bad, but is that in Austin itself or is that for everything around Austin (Round Rock, Leander)? Will this "bad" traffic just be a joke compared to No. VA?

2) I have a fear of cities, mainly the crowds. Living 10 miles from D.C. now is fine, because I do not have to go into D.C. Are the surrounding areas of Austin more like suburbs where you cannot really tell you are near a big city?

3) I currently teach high school Pre-AP Math and AP Computer Science. The demand for these should be high anywhere, but is it the same in Texas? Do Texas schools frown on giving the higher level courses (Advanced Placement) to relatively new teachers?

4) If my before-tax pay was around 43k, what should I be looking at in terms of housing prices? I will have approximately 35k saved when moving. No.VA has housing started at 350 for low and going up fast from there, while just looking at real estate sites show surrounding Austin areas having housing starting at 100 for low and up to 150 you seem to get a decent house.

5) I have been told to not buy right away, but to rent to make sure I like the area. Is this wise? I would normally hate the idea of renting because it is throwing away money. If I did buy early and did not like the area, is it easy to sell? Would that be a big loss of money?

6) Money is a big deal, obviously. It is not that I covet money or that I intend to buy a lot, but rather I am worried about the future and want to feel secure. Is Austin as cheap as it seems? I have heard several people mention the cost of electricity and groceries. Factoring in the lower housing, is this something to even worry about?

7) Will I be tarred and feathered if I root for the Utah Jazz?
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Old 12-29-2007, 11:01 AM
 
49 posts, read 116,984 times
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Rent first. You are not throwing money away if you put the dif between buying and renting into savings.

Traffic is bad here. nothing like DC though

It doesn't take long to get out of the city and not know its there. plenty of space if you need it.
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Old 12-29-2007, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Austin
153 posts, read 574,713 times
Reputation: 31
I agree, I would rent for 3-6 months before deciding.
Also, it will give you time to find a job and have flexibility on if you want to rent near your school. When I was teaching I was anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes away from my schools, so it just depends on where you work and live.
I would recommend a suburb for teaching, just my personal opinion after teaching in AISD and then in Pflugerville ISD. I preferred the smaller district and the pay was better.
Math/computer teachers and science teachers are still in higher demand from last I heard (as well as bilingual/ESL). As far as getting the AP classes, it will depend upon circumstance.
IMHO, I would try to find a job first, then decide on a place to rent that was either close or accessible, depending on the school you are hired at, if possible...I know the timing is tricky. Then you have more background to decide if you want to stay at that school, live in that area, etc.
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Old 12-29-2007, 11:19 AM
 
1,035 posts, read 4,156,272 times
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Leander ISD will be opening a new high school next year in the northeastern part of the district. If you want to live in Round Rock, that would be a quick drive. Actually, some Round Rock addresses are zoned for LISD.

Traffic in the suburbs (away from I35) means there's a backup at a light so you have to sit for 5 minutes.

You can get a nice 3/2 for around 150,000 in Cedar Park/Leander.
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Old 12-29-2007, 11:21 AM
 
22 posts, read 59,074 times
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Of the school districts around, which would be considered a smaller district?
Would it be the Leander/Round Rock/Pflugerville ones, which aren't directly in Austin? Or do you need to go to Lake Travis/Lago Vista?

I did see there was a new school in Leander. I've been wondering if that is the best opportunity. They will only have 9th graders next year, so that rules out AP courses for one year but perhaps it would give me the 'in' the year after. And perhaps they are less likely to have a current AP Comp Sci teacher.

Last edited by TikTok0; 12-29-2007 at 11:23 AM.. Reason: Adding
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Old 12-29-2007, 11:35 AM
 
1,035 posts, read 4,156,272 times
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I just found a pretty cool tool. Hope this link works: http://deleon.tea.state.tx.us/SDL/Forms/mapWin.aspx
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Old 12-29-2007, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Hutto, Tx
9,247 posts, read 24,347,073 times
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Round Rock is actually a pretty big district. Leander is probably smaller. Hutto even smaller than that, even though a new High School is slated here as well and they just raised the teacher salaries to try and lure new teachers.
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Old 12-29-2007, 12:42 PM
 
7,117 posts, read 12,582,930 times
Reputation: 3689
Quote:
Originally Posted by TikTok0 View Post
I am currently living with parents in Northern Virginia and it is time for me to move. Teacher salaries just cannot afford the housing market here nor do I want to stay here. After a lot of research, I narrowed my choices down to Texas, specifically around Round Rock, or South Carolina just outside Columbia.

I have a lot of questions I am trying to answer, as one should when moving for the first time. These are just a few:

1) The county I am moving from has the third longest commute time in the country, due to the excessive traffic in No. VA. A two mile drive takes 15+ minutes. I keep hearing the Austin traffic is bad, but is that in Austin itself or is that for everything around Austin (Round Rock, Leander)? Will this "bad" traffic just be a joke compared to No. VA?

2) I have a fear of cities, mainly the crowds. Living 10 miles from D.C. now is fine, because I do not have to go into D.C. Are the surrounding areas of Austin more like suburbs where you cannot really tell you are near a big city?

3) I currently teach high school Pre-AP Math and AP Computer Science. The demand for these should be high anywhere, but is it the same in Texas? Do Texas schools frown on giving the higher level courses (Advanced Placement) to relatively new teachers?

4) If my before-tax pay was around 43k, what should I be looking at in terms of housing prices? I will have approximately 35k saved when moving. No.VA has housing started at 350 for low and going up fast from there, while just looking at real estate sites show surrounding Austin areas having housing starting at 100 for low and up to 150 you seem to get a decent house.

5) I have been told to not buy right away, but to rent to make sure I like the area. Is this wise? I would normally hate the idea of renting because it is throwing away money. If I did buy early and did not like the area, is it easy to sell? Would that be a big loss of money?

6) Money is a big deal, obviously. It is not that I covet money or that I intend to buy a lot, but rather I am worried about the future and want to feel secure. Is Austin as cheap as it seems? I have heard several people mention the cost of electricity and groceries. Factoring in the lower housing, is this something to even worry about?

7) Will I be tarred and feathered if I root for the Utah Jazz?
I dont really think traffic is bad here. If you live and work in round rock you should be too bad off at all.

Even central austin isnt much like a city. The suburbs are definitely not like a city.

There is a lot of demand for AP courses

Housing prices start at about 80/sq ft. A typical house will be around 100/sq ft.

5) I would rent

6) Austin isnt that cheap. But it depends on what you are doing. I could eat for $2 day in austin if I wanted to (cooking every meal)

7) we dont have pro sports so you should be ok.

Before the spurs got popular we could watch our favorite teams in san antonio for not much money. Dont know how it is now, but I still think it is possible. I bet in DC it would be very expensive to get tickets.
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Old 12-30-2007, 01:00 AM
 
22 posts, read 59,074 times
Reputation: 10
I appreciate the replies so far. I suppose renting for a while does make the most sense.

Approximately what would the difference in price for buying versus renting be when you factor in property taxes and utilities?

From a quick calculator elsewhere, it would appear that a 130k house would be approximately $700 a month with a decent down payment and the interest rate I believe I could get.
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Old 12-30-2007, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Cedar Park, TX
123 posts, read 680,704 times
Reputation: 87
I teach in Round Rock... and while I teach an elementary specialization, I'd be happy to lend you any advice and or opinions on teaching in the Austin area.

First and foremost... GET YOUR CERTIFICATION STUFF SUBMITTED NOW!!! It took about four months to get everything taken care of and luckily Round Rock was OK with my Ohio certificate knowing my temporary one year certificate was on its way. I'm not sure how other districts would feel about that. I'd be happy to direct you in the right direction on how to submit everything.

As for the traffic... my best friend lives in Northern VA, so I know exactly what you deal with. And while Austin traffic can be a pain, it is nothing like NVA. And the suburbs can get tied up with traffic, too, but like another poster said, it's just sitting through lights. If you are planning on teaching in the suburbs, you'll be fine.

I live in Cedar Park and I don't feel the big city feel... that's what driving into Austin is for! It's total suburbia here.

I know that the high schools here do offer AP courses... and districts are starting to open ninth grade centers, but as you said, it could be your 'IN' with a transfer to AP in a year or two.

Salary was a big issue for me with the move... I took a HUGE pay cut coming from NE Ohio. But actually, with not having state income tax, I didn't feel it as much as I thought I would in terms of actual money per month. Something to look at is not just what you will start at, but the pay increases per year. In NE Ohio, the pay increases per year were thousands of dollars... here it's just hundreds. And it's only a $1,000 increase if you have you master's over someone with a bachelor's. Again, it was thousands more in Ohio.

I can tell you a little bit about our house here in Cedar Park. We bought smaller because we knew we would still have a mortgage in Ohio (thank God we did... a year and a half later, we are still making two mortgage payments). In August of '06, we got a 2,000 square foot house for 185K. We pay roughly $480 extra a month for property taxes. If you would like to talk to a Realtor, IM me... our Realtor was FABULOUS.

The cost of electricity was not an issue for us, as it is so much cheaper than our gas bill ever was in the winter months trying to heat a house in NE Ohio winters. I did notice a slightly higher cost of groceries, but nothing that is breaking the bank.

And no, you won't be tarred and feathered for being a Utah Jazz fan. I proudly wear my Cleveland Indians and Ohio University Bobcats shirts and it really becomes a conversation piece. A lot of people around here are from other places... you'll fit in just fine.

One last thing... I absolutely love it here. Even with the pay cut I took and having two mortgage payments... I wouldn't move back to Ohio.

If you have anymore questions, feel free to IM me.
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