Quality of Life in Austin>Question Details

rockinblu, Other/Just Looking in Austin, TX

Attn. Austin, TX Realtors

Asked by rockinblu, Austin, TX Tue Jul 29, 2008

I am sort of limiting this to Austin because only those Realtors or those that are truly familiar with our location can appreciate our situation.

Mrs. rockinblu and I are both 68 and retired. We are never say die rock'n rollers that have completely uncluttered our lives by selling our home back in the St. Louis area and moving from a 3100 sf home to an 1150 2/2 apartment in the SoCo area of Austin less than a block from the Continental Club. Our other love is walking and jogging. The hike and bike trail is a ten minute walk. We are now about 30 minutes from our sons and their families.

Our rent is about 1750 a month and our apartment is absolutely terrific with no problems whatsoever with other occupants. Tell me why and if we should, given our situation, ever accept the responsibilities of home ownership again. That includes condominiums as well.

BTW, we have been visiting this area for over 10 years and are not naive to some of the drawbacks such as the street people.

Help the community by answering this question:


Hello there Mr. & Mrs Rockinblu.

My husband and I were in similar circumstances last year. We could rent or buy a condo and have about 1200 square feet and be close to everything downtown, or we could buy a larger house outside of the city. We bought a home in Leander. That was the right choice for us. You have to be within your comfort zone. Something made you opt to rent over buying. What was it? Go with your gut feeling. If you love where you are, then stay there.

But if you would like to explore other options with a no-pressure real estate team to determine your financial alternatives, give us a call. I'm the rock-n-roll chick who loves Austin and attended Eeyore's birthday party this year. My husband and I do the museums and explore the parks. We moved here from the Chicago area and laugh every time our friends talk about ice and snow.

Carol Pease, ABR, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI
Web Reference: http://www.LeanderHomes.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 30, 2008
Dear Mr Rockinblu:

Thank you for your compliment. My husband and I are absolutely delighted with our decision to move to the Austin area and love exploring with family and friends whether old or new. (friends not age) We have done everything this year including SXSW, Eeyore's birthday party, and Mardi Gras. We explore restaurants, museums and coffee shops. I went tubing last weekend in New Braunfels. We read the Chronicle and laugh about the personal ads. We still have strong ties to the Midwest because of property and grandchildren. Our snow-plowing bill from November til March was over $1300 for our home there. I left my fully-exposed ranch on the river for Austin Texas. Do I miss it? Not much. The music here is fantastic and we have been to several concerts and made some new friends. I'm thinking about going to the Eagles concert in San Antonio but as usual hubby doesn't exactly know who they are. I drag him to Fleetwood Mac, Michael Buble, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, Harry Connick Jr, and Chicago. If it's an oldie or someone who sings oldies then I am there. So if you do decide you want to explore any of your options or you want to meet some fellow escapees from the Midwest area give us a call.

Carol Ann Pease
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008
Dear Rockinblu,
I am glad you are spending time out actually living your life. That is what are are put on this earth for. You two are lucky that you both agree on your living/rental arrangement. I say go have a cold one and pull up a chair to listen to a great band and don't worry about what anybody else thinks. You have done what you needed to and now it is ALL about being happy and loving your life NOT your repairman! LOL Have a wonderful week!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 6, 2008
Carol Ann

A couple of times in our visits to Austin before we moved our kids would take us to San Antonio and lunch on the River Walk. Both times we ate at the County Line there. Both times, out of a party of eight, guess who Mr. birdie gave a present to?

A couple of years later my son was hosting a managers meeting there. He told the story to the group at the table, and while he thought he had told it quite funny he couldn't believe the laughter he was getting. He said he thought a couple of the attendees were going to fall in the river laughing. Turns out right on cue as he was finishing the story laughingly, unbeknown to him, but in full view of everyone else, Mr. birdie gave him a little punctuation at the end of the story.

Have fun, but if you eat on the River Walk, keep the club soda handy. :-)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 8, 2008
Rockinblu & Betina

Carol Ann is expecting company this weekend. Yeah!!! My daughter and her husband are flying in from Illinois along with my favorite grandson. (I only have 1 grandson) Saturday to Tuesday will come and go very quickly. We've got a tentative itinerary planned for them but we are open to suggestions. We are going down to see UT, one morning. We plan to do 6th street for some music and eat at Stubbs. I think one day we will spend in San Antonio. They want to see the Alamo and Sea World. I'm not going to sell any homes this weekend. Family is more important and those times zoom by very quickly.

Carol Ann Pease, ABR, CRS,,CRB, e-PRO, GRI
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 7, 2008

We were in the second row of chairs on the left side facing the stage almost at the end of the row. However, during the show, the chairs were useless. Sonny Landreth has incredible ability and is terrific live. Mrs. Rockinblu likes his recorded stuff probably better than I do. It was absolutely a wonderful evening.
Our apartment complex is having live music by the pool this evening in conjunction with First Thursday. We could get pumped up enough to go see Sonny again at the Continental Club, or just sit with a cooler in the complex's parking lot which is directly behind the CC . lol

Try again folks to make us home owners. It ain't gonna happen. I think Betina and Carol Ann have the best understanding of our situation.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 7, 2008
Dear Rockinblu,
I was there, but since I don't know what yall look like I could not say hi. The show was great as usual. The last time I went to BOTG I saw Carolyn Wonderland. I just love her, she often plays at Arts Rib House on S. Lamar. Maybe we will bump into each other there?
Rock on!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 7, 2008

Hubby might rub in the Cubs but not me. Baseball is not my favorite sport and really not his either. He went ot a few games with friends. I find it too slow for me. I love it when men hit each other like football. ...and I'm a real soccer fan for guys with great legs. I can't wait for the Olympics to start. I love watching competitive sports. I will e-mail you and maybe we can find something we will all enjoy.

Carol Ann Pease
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008
Dear Rockinblu,
Your decision to come to Austin was a good one. In my opinion I would buy instead of rent. While you rent you are paying off someone elses mortgage and helping them with their investment. I would buy something small with low maintenance. Then when the eventual happens, your kids will have a tidy nest egg to help pay for your healthcare or other special needs. Or they could spend it following The Grateful Dead.

Some pessimists say our market is going south, however the home prices are still going up, and there are still buyers buying homes. Last year Austin home values went up an average of 8.25%. Oh yes lets not forget that rent went up as well.

On the other hand I am an optimist with a healthy dose of reality. So call me if you want to see what you could buy in Austin if you decided to buy. I would be happy to drive you around a little to see whats out there. You never know you could see something that sets your heart on fire?? How can you follow your heart if you don't get off the couch?

See you on the Zilker hike and bike trails or at Continental.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008
Rock on Rockinblu's. 2006 & 2007 were record setting years for the Austin Real Estate market. Has it slowed from that pace? Yes it has. Is it an imploding market? Not even close. Record setting pace's are by defination unsustainable just look at the real estate correction occuring in some parts of the country. Sprinter's train differently than marathon runners.
One of the oft quoted statistics about Austin is that the population has doubled every 20 years for the last 100 years. Like it or not we are still tracking that kind of growth. Job growth is pulling a younger demographic to the City of Austin. Austin's ranking in various 'Best places to retire' lists is attracting another - those with "a touch of grey" (apologies to The Grateful Dead). UT has had an undergraduate student body of aprox. 40,000 since the 1960's. Retiring UT ex's alone will probably supply a fairly large contingent of new Austin resident's over the coming years.
There is a plethoria of articles and facts suggesting that what we are experiencing right now in the Austin Real Estate market is a temporary lull. More of a flat spot on the graph than a down turn. You snooze you lose. Keep that in mind as you make your long range plans. By all means devote some time to getting to know this great City better however keep in mind that 1750/month will still go pretty far in this town. How far is essentially inversely proportional to your distance from Downtown. Take advantage of this breather in the Austin Real Estate market but don't wait too long. Whenever your ready I'd be more than glad to meet you at a venue of your choosing to discuss your options. Rock n Roll is here to stay!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008
Our government gives us incentives to own homes specifically in the tax code. 100% of your interest payments are deductible. In texas you have homesteading rights too. That one you'll have to consult an atty on but I suggest you do quickly as its benefit is huge! If that's not enough, think about this. You're paying someone elses mortgage.

As far as SOCO or somewhere else. a 2/2 in that area is probably $350k+. If it fits your lifestyle, grab one as that area is considered prime and will probably go up next year. Sales prices are up 6.9% in Austin, un;like other areas ion the country.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 30, 2008
"Seems to me that you've probably invested in your families your entire life."

Precisely one of my points. There comes a time in one's life when you realize that your days really are numbered, and the focus should be on your happiness during those remaining days. Our children are not so selfish that they don't understand this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 9, 2009
Bit late to answer, but I could not resist. There was one substantial keyword in your post. . . families. Seems to me that you've probably invested in your families your entire life. Am I wrong? So why would you stop now? You've made it this far with all the wonders of the world. Don't invest your hard-earned money in another family's future. Continue to take care of you and yours, first and foremost. It's never too late to keep giving back to those that have come this far with you.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 29, 2008

We ended up attending inside. We went to the complex's shindig. The original band booked was Soul Kitchen and they cancelled. A last minute replacement was The Bright Light Social Hour http://www.myspace.com/thebrightlightsocialhour They were great, and very nice guys as well. Of course in the limited time they had to play, I am sure we heard only their "A" material. I still would recommend them given the set we saw and heard for sure. We met some very nice people at the complex get together and were among the last to leave. We walked up to Magnolia and had a martian landscape appetizer and stopped and looked in CC on the way back. It wasn't too crowded, so we opted to go for it. Again, we were able to get right down front. Mrs. Rockinblu and I both agree while it was a good show, it was not up to the same level or intensity shown over at Zilker.

Just another great night in SoCo.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 9, 2008
Maybe next time while at the CC I will park in the back with a full cooler in the trunk like in the old days??
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 8, 2008
Thanks Betina

Blues on the Green tonight! Sonny Landreth.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 6, 2008
not my bidness but just an opinion -- wouldn't dream of answering the "if" part of your question -- my response to the "why" part is should the music stop, real estate lives on and can, if structured correctly, provide security for the remaining band members -- rent is just an expense -- but you already know that --
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 5, 2008
Carol Ann

Thank you so much. Your offer is very kind and appreciated. However, you probably will rub the Cubs in too much, but you can email me if you and your hubby are looking for company at a live show at a club around here.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008
Hey Jim

How about this one? At our old home we had a new washer and dryer delivered. The guy must have had too hard of a time getting the old hoses off. Didn't change them. My wife came home from our office and looked down at the patio off our walk-out and saw water gushing out on to it. What a nightmare. As I posted earlier, It was fully finished. We then had a fully finished swamp. As I also posted earlier, I could go on and on and on, but I need a Shiner just thinking about it all.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008
Don't worry, we have plenty of time off the couch. Thinking strongly about Saxon tonight. Been following George for about 10 yrs.
When you see the guy that goes by and tips his hat at the SRV statue most mornings around 9:45 to 10:30, come over and say Hi rockinblu.


As I stated earlier, it is not about the money. And believe me, I have had my fill of dealing direct with a myriad of repair men and contractors. Not interested. Our icemaker was not working properly the other day. I contacted our agent in the complex in the morning, and it was fixed before noon. You can't begin to even imagine what I went through with our previous house under similar circumstances. The guy left with it leaking into our finished basement. I could go on and on and on about the crappola we went through as home owners in dealing with repairs. The remainder of our lives are too short to continue with that kind of frustration. We are ready to be free at last (Sorry for borrowing that phrase with something as insignificant as the topic of this post). However, I am fully aware that my opinion of what we are doing my be looked upon in later years as a situation of "what were we thinking of," but right now we are making the most of our decision, right or wrong.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008
How about the benefits of home ownership--leveraged investment, tax savings, freedom to do as you please (law & HOA may have limits), lower monthly outlay (often), no rent increases (30 yr. fixed), no need to rely on landlord to make needed repairs. In another 15-20 years, you might also have a need or want to take out a home equity conversion loan (reverse mortgage).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008
Thanks to all that have taken time to respond. The posts were all great, but for the most part centered around the money. I would agree, if we were younger buying would be an investment in the future. If we haven't done well enough to get by as of now, I think buying a home for the investment return in this stage of our lives would be a little late. I realize the rent is going to go up, but for us it's about lifestyle. It is not about the money. The freedom that not having the responsibility of maintaining a home has been exhilarating for us. The urban vibe that we have missed for so many years, is absolutely energizing. The luxury of having the whole downtown area seemingly at our doorstep is unbelievable, and hard to put a price on. I guess my post really was some sort of Shiner induced reflection on what we had accomplished. Now our kids won't have to deal with the situation of the stereotypical parents who stay in their home with all the accumulation way too long. I don't think I want to start rebuilding another situation like we left. I voted Carol Ann's post the best for "Go with your gut feeling. If you love where you are, then stay there."
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008

You're already comfortable with what you have and your location is outstanding. Austin is on the downturn from a housing perspective and not expected to rebound any time soon, especially going into the end of summer and an election. I'd sit this one out in your wonderful location and laugh at everyone trying to buy into a declining market. Then maybe after the election, take a sampling of the market to see what's up, check into the financial markets and look for some stability, and do a really good analysis of the pros and cons, both personally and financially. We haven't hit bottom yet and I don't think we will this year. Unless you have a pressing need to own a home, with all the good and bad it brings, I'd let things settle down, get to know Austin by living here (even visiting for 10 years isn't the same as living here), and consider visiting the issue again very late this year or early next year.

If I can be of any assistance, feel free to check out my profile.

Rock on!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 30, 2008
rockinblu ... I like you already, downsizing, hike & bike, living urban Austin ... I hope to do the same at 68. Sounds like it would be a good exercise for you to assess what you could buy for your money and what those payments would look like (or would you pay cash?) and what the tax benefits look like. I hate to see financially qualified rock'n rollers paying someone else's mortgage (in the form of rent) when you could be sitting on a nice appreciating asset in the coolest city in Texas. Austin is projected to double in the next 20 years and urban Austin and 78704 will only continue to be an appealing desitination and investment opportunity. The majority of our business is central, one of our Buyer Specialists is a downtown expert and we currently have 4 listings in 78704 ranging from a $212k condo off Thorton to 2 $647k 5-star green homes in Bouldin. Would be happy to talk through some options over a cup of coffee at Jo's.
Web Reference: http://www.tnpblog.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 30, 2008
well in the market we are in, there is no reason not to invest your money. Of couse you wont be able to own you current place for $1700 a month without a signifacant downpayment. Right now our market is a buyers market. Its a great time to find a great deal. Of course the soco area is always going to be popular, so the deals you find may not be what you are looking for. but, if you are wanting to invest and start earning some great equity in central austin, now is the time. I and many others feel that this time next year will be compleatly different. of course you can never be sure what the market is going to do. If you want my opinion, Invest in some south central austin property. good luck to you, and let me know if I can be of any assistance.
Web Reference: http://www.brianeddins.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 29, 2008
GREAT QUESTION: As you are well aware that with apartment rental each year the lease increases, vs. home ownership with a locked in loan never increase except for insurance, taxes. Rental there can be the property owner selling the home, issues with repairs, updating, vs. a home you do what you feel like at anytime. Allows you to build equity for if you do have a medical emergency like "cash in the bank", tax write off,

I hope these answer assist. Austin is a great location!
http://www.lynn911.com http://www.homes-for-sale-dallas.com
Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 29, 2008
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