I know, I know, it has been one month exactly since we packed up and headed to Austin from Phoenix, and I haven’t said much about it. I’m surprised too!
Many have asked – how do we like Austin? It’s been a whirlwind getting here. It all happened very fast and between selling, packing, moving, the holidays, unpacking, client work/ jobs, having colds and looking at houses in Austin. We’ve been quite busy! And, I haven’t had a chance to say much.
That’s why I had so many blogger friends guest posting for me during that time. I hope you didn’t mind. I love sharing other people’s work with you all!
(Down the street is a family who participated in the cow parade and they now display the cow in their front yard. It’s actually pretty, I think.)
Well, I’m breaking my silence and telling you all what we think of Austin so far… the pros and the cons. And, as we look for homes to buy, I’ll share some of that with you as well.
I’ll start with the CONS of Austin that we have discovered so far, so that I can end on a positive note.
1. Roaches. I have not actually seen any roaches yet, though we did see a giant tree roach in a vacation rental we stayed in back in October. I hate roaches. Texas has them. We didn’t have roaches in Phoenix. We did have scorpions, but guess what, they have scorpions in Austin as well!
2. Drivers/ Narrow Roads. Okay, so inside the Austin city limits, all of the roads are narrow. Most lanes are only about 10 ft wide. It feels like you are so close to other cars. And, on top of that, the drivers here are very aggressive. They will cut you off with no problem. Expect to be cut off. Lots of times. Not so in Phoenix. The roads are normal and the drivers are good – especially when those traffic cameras are up!
3. Weather/ Humidity. It was rainy for the entire first week we were here. Rain like that is very rare in Phoenix. In fact, in Phoenix, I could see how a child could grow up and barely know what a cloud is… Here, not so much. But, I must say, in the past week or two, the weather has been very nice! About 70-75 degrees on average, partly sunny. The humidity is higher here – about 75% on average compared to maybe 15% on average in Phoenix. But, I’m actually fairly used to it. It’s not bothering me too much…
4. Allergies. In Austin, cedar is prevalent. And, it’s cedar season – pollen counts are very high. Most everyone has allergy symptoms like runny nose and a sore throat. After my husband and I got over a cold that we caught, I had just one good day and I was sick again with continuous headaches and generally feeling ill. Everyone assured me it was the cedar. I was freaked out because if it made me this sick (more than allergy sick), I would need to head back to Phoenix asap. But, come to find out (and this is still in the process of being confirmed), it seems to be the amount of boxes and packing material getting into the air while unpacking that is making me sick! Whew!
5. Home Prices/ Cost of Living. Our home in Phoenix – 3000 sq ft, pool, large lot can easily cost twice as much here (in the S/SW Austin area). Ouch. It hurts. We’re trying to adjust budget and expectations, but it is a challenge. The big difference? Well, Phoenix prices dropped by about half from 2006 to 2009. Yet, Austin home prices have stayed steady so no true drop. Good for those moving to Phoenix or buying after 2009. Bad for those of us moving from Phoenix to a healthier market. However, it’s good to be in a healthier market in other regards. Property taxes are also quite a bit higher here, but there are no state taxes.
6. Traffic. Just like most cities, Austin has its share of traffic. It may be smaller than Phoenix, but traffic wise, it’s just as bad or maybe worse due to road construction.
Now for the PROS of Austin!
1. Unique shops. On the south side of Austin, there are lots of small unique shops. All sorts of small mom and pop shops are keeping Austin weird. I can’t wait to explore them! Phoenix had a real shortage of these!
Some are not even small… This large grocery store had been converted to handmade products and a farmer’s market.
And, well, there were other surprises inside.
Keeping Austin weird!
2. Blogger Meet-up. We already had a blogger meetup with four bloggers in the Austin area – Dana from Make Them Wonder, Allison from House of Hepworths, Jessica from Hill Country Homebody, and me! Fun, fun. We met up at the cutest little restaurant downtown called The Waltons! Loved all of those girls. I wish we had taken photos of us together, but we didn’t! Can’t wait to meet more bloggers in Austin.
3. Sprouts Farmer’s Market. It’s a grocery store that is a lot like Whole Foods, but cheaper. We had them in Phoenix and thank goodness, we have two in Austin! It’s not many, but it’s more than zero! I do half or more of my shopping here. Most produce is local and the meat is all antibiotic and hormone free. But, most importantly, I find my special allergy friendly foods here!
4. Trees. Yep. We didn’t have real trees in Phoenix. They were all tiny and fairly short, except for some of the palm trees. It’s nice to have some oaks again! We’re set on having a lot with some trees on it!
5. Scenic / Springs. Phoenix is scenic in its own way. It has the most park land within city limits of any city in the US. But, Austin is also scenic. It has rolling hills and natural springs. And, trees. Did I mention trees?
6. The University of Texas. It’s in Austin. In Phoenix we had ASU, but it’s nice to be near our alma mater again!
7. Y’all. It’s nice to hear that term being thrown around here again. We haven’t heard it much in over a decade.
I could probably think of a few more like being closer to family, it being more cultural here and so on. But, that is good for now!
If you want to see more photos from Austin, see a previous post here.
This weekend, we’re taking a Segway tour of downtown! Looking forward to exploring Austin more. Having only lived here for college, it’s a whole new experience this time around.
But, yep, folks, that’s what we think so far! We’re only one month in, so a lot can change still! I’ll tell you more about our home search soon.