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relocating to Austin - many questions!

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Portland, OR
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relocating to Austin - many questions!

My husband and I are looking to make a change from Portland, Oregon to Austin. The economic situation in Portland is poor and housing prices are attrocious! What is the current situation in Austin? I am in the alternative health care field and am wondering what the attitude is like toward these types of services (chiropractic, acupuncture, etc.)?

We are making a trip to Austin over this next weekend to check out the city and have gotten some great advice from other posts regarding restaurants and entertainment - thanks!

We would also like to check out some neighborhoods and also some areas for potential retail space for an alternative health clinic. Any suggestions or recommendations for nice neighbohoods to look at real estate?

We have heard that Austin is very similar to Portland in a lot of ways. Portland has some great, older "closer-in" neighborhoods full of early 1900's refurbished houses with nice character, any of these thypes of neighborhoods in Austin that are actually desireable to live in?

We're excited to get to Austin to check out what sounds like a great city!

Roswell, New Mexico
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1. Re: relocating to Austin - many questions!

Autsin is still a neat place, but not as weird as it used to be. The hippies that moved there to escape corporate life and rebel against the system have now taken jobs withe Dell and the state gov't, and traded in their VW microbuses for Suburbans to take their Taylor and Tyler to soccer practice.

If any town in Texas is accepting of 'alternative' health care, it's Austin, so you'll be fine in that regard. However, Austin suffers from the fact that everyone wants to move there, so houses are expensive, especially the closer in neighborhoods you're looking for. I would guess that you can't find much under $200,000. I know lots of fols that paid cloer to half-a-mil. You might have better luck in South Austin. The neighborhoods are generally fine, but lots of folks are wary if the property east of I-35. They may be being paranoid, as I've seen some nice homes there.

San Antonio, Texas
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2. Re: relocating to Austin - many questions!

If you want a "closer-in" neighborhood full of early 1900's refurbished houses, then Hyde Park is your answer. It's in the heart of Austin roughly between 24th and 51st/Lamar & I-35. If you do mapquest.com, then you'll see what I mean. The only problem is that you'll spend anywhere from $400K to $1 Million for a house here (like wondertrev said). There are other neighborhoods in Austin that have what you want, but the prices are crazy high...you'll have to look in South Austin (where I lived for years) to find the deals...but the real thing is that Austin is way too crowded for the amount of space it has. The roads have not kept up with the population and there always seems to massive amounts of traffic everywhere. I love Austin and lived there for 10 years, but I had to get away. I now live in San Antonio and love it! It's much less crowded and much more affordable. My house is 2,000 sq. ft. in a gated community and backs up on a greenbelt that won't be developed, and I paid $200K for it, which is a pretty good deal. The only problem is that San Antonio is a much more conservative town and probably would not welcome alternative medicine.

Big D
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for Tulum, Dallas
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3. Re: relocating to Austin - many questions!

The area east of I-35 is coming-up. It's mostly hispanic.

There is a very cool garden shop on Cesar Chavez called Big Red Sun just east of I-35. I would hang out there briefly and explain your situation - I've found all of the staff to be quite helpful.

Down Cesar Chavez a bit more (going east) is Mr. Natural - a vegetarian (if not vegan) restaurant. I'm sure you can gather some good info there from the locals.

San Antonio, TX
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for San Antonio
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4. Re: relocating to Austin - many questions!

I agree with TexasHam, San Antonio is wonderful. Housing is truly a bargain here. SA is often described as a big city with a small town feel. I love the vibe here, just feels more homey than Austin to me. We visit Austin often. We have two sisters-in-law and a brother there, go for live music and dinning or shopping, but for me it's just a little too crowded, a little too yuppified, a little too college town. SA is a little more working class. These factors may make Austin more your cup of tea, especially given your profession.

As far as potential for your business, I would think Austin might be better than SA. Many of the factors that make SA an inexpensive place to live also make it tough to run a retail/service oriented business, namely we have a large population with a very low disposable income, the working poor. Austin seems to have more disposable income. I agree that you would find plenty of folks sharing your philosophy on healthcare in Austin. I'm not sure how it would go over in SA, there might be a niche that needs to be filled.

Many folks are opting for the small bedroom communities and towns around Austin like Buda, Lockhart, or even San Marcos. You should have a little better cost of living; the issue, of course, would be the commute.

One thing that might be different for you is the sense of scale Texas has. By that I mean distances that seem far in other states are closer in Texas. No, we don't have a warped time-space continuum here, it's just that because things are so spread out, we re used to traveling further distances. For example, before moving here from South Carolina, a trip of 100 miles was a three or four times a year event that warranted an entire (if not extended) weekend. Now a trip to Austin (about 90 miles) is two or three times a month day (or evening) trip. We rarely spend the night when we go to Houston, and we think nothing of driving to Dallas for a weekend.

Food for thought, anyway.