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fasting1 Nov 14th, 2011 05:11 PM

Good Affordable Safe Areas to Buy Houses in Texas?
Me and the wife are looking to move down to Texas next year in hopes for buying a house. New York is too expensive to buy in right now with these high taxes.
What are the safest areas to buy in Texas right now? I have never been to Texas so I don't know where to start. We are looking for nice houses under $200k and because we have kids, we would also like a nice school district.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Austin Nov 14th, 2011 05:36 PM

Texas is a large, diverse state. You can find a house under $200k anywhere you go. What kind of of neighborhood? What are your needs?

I know in Austin, Under $200k can get you a nice house in Cedar Park in the Leander school district. Pretty far north of town, about 45 minute commute to downtown. Worse in traffic. More details would help.

DebitNM Nov 14th, 2011 05:57 PM

What about a job? That should be your first concern, then housing, IMHO.

What would you tell someone who asked where in NY State should they buy a house? Safe thing goes for your question. Way too vague.

Texas is very different than NY. I would strongly suggest you visit a few times at different time during the year [once you narrow down an area] and see what it's like.

Dukey1 Nov 15th, 2011 01:52 AM

I think you need to be just a little MORE upfront abut the "safe" part and what DOES that really MEAN? Is this strictly a documented crime issue or is it as much about the racial mix?

nytraveler Nov 15th, 2011 02:33 AM

The first thing you need to do is figure out jobs - unless you are independently wealthy. While housing n Texas is much lower than in NY - salaries can be much lower too. So unless you have a work at home job and know your income won;t be lower - you really need to figure out where you can get jobs and what the salaries will be.

fasting1 Nov 15th, 2011 02:55 AM

Thank You for the replies. I am looking to get a job in a medical office as a Phlebotomy/EKG Technician and my wife is a PCA. I wanted to use your suggestions as a start-off point for a city/region to start looking for a job. I would prefer a Mid-class environment. I would be worried about documented crime and having a good racial mix (Would prefer 33%33%33%).

RoamsAround Nov 15th, 2011 04:13 AM

Texas is a very big state. To put things in perspective if you "flipped" the state to the east the western edge would reach into the Atlantic - similarly if you flipped it towards the west the eastern edge would reach the Pacific. Now, there are plenty of major cities - Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston and medium ones like Amarillo, Lubbock, El Paso, Corpus Christi, Galveston, etc. plus 100's more small towns and villages. All have residential areas where you can find housing in the $150k to $200K range and many of the places will have housing for less and more. in other words you can find housing in all price ranges throughout the state.

Like everywhere else the cities have their share of hospitals and doctors so there will be people employed in the medical field - whether or not YOU would be able to find a job in any given area depends on your qualifications and job availability in the location you choose. Right now the economy in Texas is OK but not stellar - we have relatively high unemployment throughout the sate just like other areas of the country. Sorry don't know what a "PCA" is so I can't comment on job availability in that profession.

Texas is generally "safe" especially in the suburbs and residential areas but like everywhere there is some crime in the inner cities. You don't say where in New york you live now but if you feel safe there you'll feel safe in Texas.

I think picking a location and then thinking about finding employment is the wrong approach as it will severely limit your options. What will happen if you move to say Austin but can't find employment? The better approach would be to line up a job in your chosen field then look for a residential area that fits your needs and budget that is within a reasonable commute of that job.

MomDDTravel Nov 15th, 2011 04:19 AM

I would STRONGLY suggest you think long and hard about this. As a recent transplant to Texas from California - I am having a hard time adjusting. We were able to buy a home (and still own our home in California) and live in a very nice area of North Dallas/Lewisville area.

When you say PCA - do you mean Patient Care Aide?

The wages for what you both do might not even qualify you for a 200,000 here in Texas. Just a reality of the wages differences - I do not know what area of New York you live in? That would help. If you are in a small town in upstate New York it is different than say living in Brooklyn.

321go Nov 15th, 2011 05:26 AM

"I have never been to Texas"

Just curious, why then are you considering moving there?

cd Nov 15th, 2011 06:55 AM

If you decide on the Houston area, our son has a home to sell you! :-) Seriously, his home is for sale. He purchased it because of the school district, CyFair ISD. Northwest of Houston. He raised his kids in this wonderful development with lake and community pool and now wants something smaller. Northwest Houston has medical centers nearby

RoamsAround Nov 15th, 2011 08:03 AM

One more thing you might be interested to know - it gets VERY HOT in Texas - this year there were close to 60 days with triple digit temperatures (with some 45+ consecutive days). If you add in days when the temperature was over 95 F. that number increases substantially. Also, the entire state is under drought conditions - in the last 12 months we've only gotten around 21% of our average rainfall.

You'd be wise to come for an extended visit (and do it in the summer) before making any commitment.

SusanCS Nov 15th, 2011 03:32 PM

Let me add to the other posters' concerns about this move. With the exception of a couple of years in the NE, I grew up in Texas. I left for college and never moved back. Though I wouldn't take anything for my upbringing in Texas, I could never live there again.

I seriously doubt that Texas has changed at all, but I have. My experiences are different, my politics are different, my social values are a nutshell EVERYTHING is different about me.

I would strongly encourage the OP to spend some time in Texas before deciding it would be the right place for him and his wife to live. Making a major move to a state never visited is a bad idea on SO many levels. It's probably possible to find affordable safe housing in all 50 states...but that's not sufficient criteria by a long shot.

spirobulldog Nov 15th, 2011 03:45 PM

Hope you like hot weather. I am in Oklahoma and we beat death valley temps several times this summer-it hit 120 a few days here this year. July and August were absolutely brutal. It's normally worse in TX.

spirobulldog Nov 15th, 2011 03:47 PM

BTW, one of the safest cities in the US is El Paso. You can go 5 miles across the border and be in the least safest places in the entire world.

fasting1 Nov 15th, 2011 05:19 PM

We currently live in Long Island.

PCA is indeed Personal Care Aide.

Houses in our area are 350-400 for basic 4br 2.5bath. Why would we want to spend that amount of money on a 4br when you can get houses the same size for 100-150 in Texas?.

Many people outside of NY State don't understand exactly how expensive living in NY has turned due to taxes and fees. Public transportation is $2.25 per ride. Gas is $4 a gallon. Even Train rides into the city are nearly $20 round trip from here and we only live 45 minutes-1hr away from the city in Long Island.

We have heard many people giving good reviews about Texas.One of the main reasons to move south is to beat the Winter. We hate winter weather but 100+ Degrees is indeed something we would need to discuss for obvious health reasons.

We were interested in northern Texas as a few websites have given the region great school district reviews and we would assume the weather wouldn't be as bad as the Mexico border.

WTG BIGRUSS. We ask a simple question that is left to open interpretation and you bombard us with nonsense. How about using common sense when someone says 'Good Safe and Affordable Area'!?

Safe = Low(ish) Crime Rates. I don't want to end up having to worry about home invasions, etc.

Nice = 3+BR, 2+Bth. Yard and Pool are pluses but not necessary.

Affordable = $100-200k. 200K Being the extreme cutoff.

I don't need to hear about how Texas is the largest state. We already know that. That is why we asked an open question. We asked for your suggestions. You wanted more input and we provided. Some people have got to relax and other have to lighten up.

DebitNM Nov 15th, 2011 05:47 PM

I moved from the northern suburbs of NYC to NM in 2001. That was after I had made several trips out here to see what the weather was like in different seasons. I also had a job lined up.

The pay out here [and Texas isn't appreciably different from NM in many aspects] is significantly less, maybe as much as half what you make in NY.

Yes, it is somewhat less expensive here to live, but you will have whopper AC bills to take the place of heating in winter.

The taxes generally are less on homes, but that also equates to lower quality schools.

Northern Texas, as in Amarillo, Lubbock or Midland? There will be little in the way of city life like you are used to [museums, plays, music etc] and most of TX is hot in summer.

I don't know what housing costs are, but consider that it is very difficult to get a mortgage with a a few years track record in current job, or if you try to get one before you have a job for that matter.

Water here in the southwest is a big concern, you will miss the ocean and LI sound too.

I would guess your wife will be lucky to make $10 an hour, you a bit higher. Do you need to be licensed in TX?

I don't know about a house for $100,000 - depends on the town, it will be small with postage sized lot. Funny, even here with so much land, most homes tend to have little land.

Think about this carefully and come to TX in July or August to see what it's like.

321go Nov 15th, 2011 05:58 PM

"Some people have got to relax and other have to lighten up." Actually, they don't.

RoamsAround Nov 15th, 2011 06:16 PM

OK here's a reality check:

Northern Texas is very hot in summer (this summer was brutal - some 45+ days in a row of 100 degree temperatures and it was never out of the mid-to-high 90's from late May until early October) and it can get quite cold in winter - think freezing. We have a home in the DFW area and can tell you we do get some snow and even worse we get ice storms - so much so everything gets covered with a sheet of ice and the entire metroplex shuts down for a day or two at a time - nothing moves!!!! The Panhandle area can get lots of snow.

Public transportation is nowhere near as abundant or as widespread as you have in NY and it's not inexpensive either. The vast majority of Texans use their cars as their primary means of commuting to/from work and for everyday transportation. Public transportation from most suburbs into the cities is lacking - it's mostly for inner city travel. Commuting by train from the suburbs is not a viable option except if you happen to live in a very narrow corridor between Dallas and Fort Worth and you work near the downtown train station in either of those two cities. So, plan on using a car to commute and depending on where you live vs where you work your commuting time can vary from 15 minute to 1 1/2 hours - there is a rush hour and we do have traffic congestion.

Gasoline is close to $4/gallon so don't expect any bargains on that front.

$200,000 will get you a 3BR house on small lot in a "development" in a decent neighborhood but like everywhere you'll find houses for more or less. Don't let prices fool you the 3 BR home you find here for $200K may not be comparable to the $300k house on Long Island. Yes, you'll get a little more house for your money in Texas vs. NY but it may not be that much more. Like everywhere there are lots of variables that affect housing prices and Location, Location, Location will be the determining factor on what you get for the price you are willing to pay. Also, depending on where you live property taxes could be high as that's the main source of funding or schools and services. You will, at least for now, not have any state income tax. Remember, wages for comparable jobs in Texas will probably be less than you are currently getting in NY so factor that into your budget.

There are some good school districts but they tend to be in the more affluent suburbs of the major cities meaning your housing may cost more than your $200K budget.

You'd really benefit from making a few pre-move visits to check out the various cities that interest you.

Good luck in your search.

MomDDTravel Nov 15th, 2011 06:16 PM

As far as a PCA - she will need a CNA certification - does she do home health or work in a hospital? You can make up to 18.00 - 20.00 "a visit" as a Home Health Aide (that includes all phone calls/paper work et - your visit can take between 30-60 minutes top) in the North Dallas area if you work for a hospital - or about 15.00 if you work PRN - if you want benefits less. For an agency it is only about 10.00 an hour - not sure on you (I work in home health in the N. Dallas area).

In a hospital as a patient care tech (that is what they are here) it is about 12 - 13/14 an hour without shift shift differential. It is pretty competitive to get a job.

My son is looking for a house in the N. Dallas area - up in Mckinney they have found houses they like for about 130,00 - 150,000 so you can go for less if need be - taxes are high and unless you can secure a job close you are looking at a commute.

We moved from California and it has been HARD on us - it was for my husband's employment. I am not trying to discourage you I can only say that each one of us (we have a 14 year old daughter) would say it has been tougher than we thought to adapt. It has been over a year. We leased for a year and then bought a home - we do like our home and are thankful to own here and the people are very friendly - most people I am becoming friends with are not from here. Works out that way for whatever reason...

MomDDTravel Nov 15th, 2011 06:22 PM

I filled up today for about 3.15 - no place close to 4.00 - just to be clear - Midway and Frankford.

Also adding - the summer about did me in - being in home health - in and out of my car... up to 118 degrees... people "warned" me but there is NO way I could understand..I seriously believed the saying "Satan called - he wants hell back" It was HOT and miserable. In a newer home your energy bill is less so that is helpful...

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