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Old 07-12-2009, 02:46 AM
3 posts, read 5,678 times
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We will be moving from Northern Colorado to the Austin area in the next few months and I have some concerns. First, I hope to find a wonderful (friendly) town to live with great schools for my Jr. High and high school aged children who love to learn and are hard workers. I really hope to find schools where the teachers really care and love teaching. I have heard very nice things about Cedar Park but I'm wondering how far/long the commute is from there into South Austin? I am also wondering if there is anywhere I should be considering down South closer to my husbands work that is really nice and perhaps even as as nice as Cedar Park....with nice neighborhoods, schools and are beautiful with fun amenities.
My other concern is kind of silly, but I really am a wimp when it come to...BUGS and SPIDERS! Esp. poisonous spiders/scorpions/fireants etc. It gives me the "hee-bee jee-bee's" just to think about it! (nice thing in N. Colorado is that weeks of below 0 weather really kills off the vermin! ) Anyway, what makes the spider population worse in a particular area, or are these things everywhere? Are greenbelt areas any worse, or homes with basements? I hoped to have a place for storage in a basement but I'm afraid that spiders will take over or it will be too humid even in a "Texas Basement"....My friend who lived in Pflugerville said my kids wouldn't be able to play on the lawn because of fire ants...is this true?
Are property taxes high there...or the cost of living? (The homes there are really beautiful and prices look great too!)
Thanks so much for reading this...I have heard the nicest things about the wonderful people of Texas....this is a great comfort as I have LOVED my life here in Colorado and I'm sad to be leaving my home! (And yes I even adore SNOW but Fall is my favorite season!) When is it the mildest and the green-est time of year there?
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:38 AM
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Hi, good for you. Sounds like you're moving because of your husband's job? I have to say though that I'm surprised at how many people make a decision to move here with so little info. You're not the only one.

Cedar Park is FAR from South Austin. There are many lovely areas in South and Southwest Austin that the realtors on the board can tell you about. Some even as nice as Cedar Park! That was a little sarcastic because I have not heard CP held up as a high standard of living to compare other areas against but I could be ignorant on that point. Nothing wrong with it, but not the be all end all either. Your kids should be able to play in the yard, I would think. There are plenty of products you can buy to kill fire ants should you have them. You won't have a problem with spiders or humidity in the basement, because we generally don't have basements. A "Texas Basement" is the ATTIC. Which you can use to store stuff. Property taxes are high because there is no state income tax. I think generally somewhere between 2 and 3%
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:47 AM
Location: Central Texas
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Where in South Austin? There are nice areas meeting your description all over Austin, but it would help to know where the commute is going to be to and how much you're looking to spend.

Also, yes, your children will be able to play on their lawn. There are fire ants in the area, but they are manageable, as are most of the other critters you'll encounter (or never even see, because, remember, you're scary to them, as well).
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:41 AM
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I've lived in Kyle for a little over a year now in a neighborhood called Plum Creek. Beautiful neighborhood, "traditional-style" homes (white picket fences and all). Pools, fishing lakes, hike & bike trails....that kind of stuff is in the neighborhood itself. Plus, Kyle is growing and you have access to a large grocery store (HEB plus), Target, movie theater (opening next year), brand new hospital (opening later this year), and a lot more within a 5 minute drive from the neighborhood. I can get from my house here to the William Cannon area in about 15-20 minutes. Depends on where your husband works in South Austin.
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:28 PM
Location: Dripping Springs , TX
786 posts, read 2,589,366 times
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Check out Dripping Springs. My daughter loves the high school and has become quite involved. Everyone we have dealt with at the school has high standards and care for the kids and push them to do their best. She was actually able to visit the school for a day before we moved they assigned her to a student ambassador who took her to all the classes so she could meet teachers and students and get to know the school and curriculum before committing. If she had not liked the school, we would not be in Dripping Springs. We had agreed that she got to pick the school from a number of candidates, then we would finalize on a house.

There are some houses here with basements, but they are usually built into a hillside and are walkout basements. Normally fully finished. Nothing close to a north type storage basement. These types of houses are few and far between, but you can look for them.

I live out in the country and was told horror stories about spiders, snakes, scorpions and other creepy crawly things. None of these stories have come true. Get your house treated by a good exterminator and you will not have problems. Fire ants are manageable.

The drive from Dripping Spring to South Austin is 20 - 30 minutes depending on where in the DS area you live and where in South Austin your husband works. The biggest bottleneck is at the Y in Oak Hill.

In DS you can get anything from a Master Planned community to a gentleman's ranch (5 - 10 acres). It all depends on your price point and what you are looking for.

We have found everyone to be very welcoming and have not regretted our decision one bit.

As far as seasons go here, Spring is the most pleasant and greenest. Summers are very hot, this one especially. Plan to spend a lot of time around water. Winters are very mild with only a few days were it will get close to freezing and maybe get some ice on the roads. No snow. Closest thing will be ice pellets in the winter, though there have been isolated incidents of snowfall in the hill country. Maybe 1 inch which will stay for a few hours.

Fall is not like up north. No major color show, though some trees do go through a color change. Most of the trees here are evergreens.

Check out the various areas and good luck on your move.
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:20 PM
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Congratulations on your move.

You asked a lot of questions; I'll tackle a couple. First FIRE ANTS! (Wish I knew how to insert a scary face here.) They are awful, but manageable. When my kids were little, I learned to automatically check any grassy area. You and your little ones be sure to do the same. (It quickly becomes second nature.) Also, I'd always carry Sting-Eze pads--they're little wipy things that can take the sting off immediately. Finally, local exterminators can treat your lawn once a year with a preventative and provide a no fireant guarantee. We've been doing this for four years and had exactly one mound.

Second, CEDAR PARK. I won't comment except to say I agree with the poster who said "as nice as Cedar Park" is funny. It is not Austin proper and your husband coulb be facing a truly hellish drive down 183 and Mopac.

Third, SCHOOLS. Please know that there are several districts in the area and they vary widely in quality, from excellent to just God awful. Schools within the same district vary, too. I wouldn't trust the bland state of Texas ratings. As a parent, I would urge you to spend plenty of time learning about the schools.

Hope that helps. :-)
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:54 PM
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I grew up in CO, lived in TX for 13 years and finally made it back to CO this summer. It will be quite a shock weather wise for you. For me the summers were absolutely awful...days and days of heat with no relief. I also love fall but it is non-existent there. It is still hot in October. Usually you get your first decent cool front (I won't say cold) around Halloween. It took a while to get used to warm holidays with no snow. It does get eventually get cold though and the humidity makes if feel chillier than you would think.

As far as critters I know so many on this forum have said they have never seen a scorpions, etc. but I guess it depends on where you live. We moved from Cedar Park and lived in a subdivision backing to someone's home who had a large lot with lots of trees. We had at least 12 scorpions per summer season with pest control. We lived there 6 years and it actually got worse each summer. They could not get rid of them no matter how many times they visited. I would try not to back up to any woods. Fire ants can be a horrible but at least you can treat them. We didn't see a lot of snakes but lots of spiders, silverfish and mosquitos.

My experience in the schools here was not so great. They are so much stricter here with attendance. I had to miss more days than recommended because of a surgery and they actually made me sit in detention to make up my missed hours even though I had excellent grades and made up all my work. It feels more regimented and rigid in TX schools than in CO. Again it's all what your used to and it can be very hard to adjust when you're used to things being a certain way.

Have you visited already? I would go out before you move if possible. When I moved with my parents we were in complete shock. Growing up in CO it's hard to imagine how hot, humid and buggy it can be. My father took a job at Dell and we moved totally blind to what we were getting into. They always wished they would've spent more time visiting before they moved our whole family from our home that we loved. Some people love it in Austin but it's not for everyone that's for sure! Good luck with your move.
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:35 AM
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I am so grateful to all of you who took such great effort and time to write and give me such valuable information. I really appreciate your candor and honesty!! I am new to this and was so touched by your kindness concern to a complete stranger. ) I want to thank Kiacook for your comments and explain that I have only just begun my search and I'm sure you're right that Cedar Park isn't the "end all" of places to live in the area...it is just the only recommendation I had gotten thus far (from 3 sources) and it sounded and looked nice from my research, but it also sounds like there are several great possibilities in the area for me to explore. Good to know about the taxes too...To TexasHorseLady and HAPPYINAUSTIN, ICESHOTS and S&AMOM and Antennaball...thank you so much for your input on the commute (and esp. schools!)...First as far as the driving...is it ANY less horrible a drive going from Round Rock or Pflugerville on the 35 down to Ben White Blvd where my husband will be working. (as opposed to taking the 183 & MOPAC from Cedar Park) or is it about the same as far as traffic horrors go?
I really appreciate what you said about schools being extra strict in Texas S&AMOM (among other wonderful comments)...my daughter is super motivated and works hard but I do remember once when she had a math teacher in 8th grade who was such a tardy freak that she would get detention if she was 1 second late sitting down in her seat. All the detentions she got for being 1 or 2 seconds late only served to make her severely depressed and feel like a criminal when she is the best kid a parent could possibly ever hope for, besides being a top student. (she is a spelling bee champion and Geography Bee champion too....never causes any problems at home and is a leader in school, so this was an absolute nightmare. Anyway, in this case a long talk with the Principal cleared up the problem, but it sounds like maybe in your area there would be a different outcome...she is already so sad about moving that it would be pretty horrible if this kind of thing ever happened again! YIKES! I am going to check out Dripping Springs and Kyle areas, but meanwhile, does anyone know much about the schools in Pflugerville or Round Rock?? Also if we decided to live in Austin city limits, does anyone have favorite family neighborhoods that aren't horribly expensive? I could see from my search so far that within Austin, the options seemed fewer and the prices heftier so that was kind of discouraging for living in closer.
I am looking for a 5 BR 3.5-4 Bath home with a nice yard. All or mostly brick/rock if possible.
One more question...(sorry!) Are neighborhood pools in most areas free to the residents in the area when you buy a house, or do you buy into them like a membership...or are they "pay per use" pools? Where I live it was like...$2500.00 for a pool membership for as long as you lived in your home, and I never purchased one. Other than that we have pools here (not close however) that are about $2.75 - $3.50 every time you go swimming which would add up if you lived in a hot area I'm sure!
Thanks again for your wonderful posts!!
PS~Thanks also for the info. on bugs, basements and living by lots of trees...here in CO, those things are some of the biggest assets you can have!
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:20 AM
Location: Central Texas
20,887 posts, read 41,560,644 times
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Either commute during rush hour, from north to south, would add time, but he could take SH 130, a toll road, to cut the traffic (we don't use "the" before our highway names here unless we're saying, "the Interstate" instead of "I35" or "IH35", and we don't say "the Mopac" but "Mopac").

Unless I missed it, you still didn't mention the price range you're looking in, and that is one of the more important things as far as knowing where to point you to find what you're looking for.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:05 AM
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To answer your question on the pools, every neighborhood that I know of charges a HOA fee (for example, mine is about $400/yr). This gives you free and unlimited access to pools, parks, basketball courts, and use of the clubhouse once a month.
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