Thinking of moving to Austin, Texas

saintgermain

Celine addict
Feb 20, 2012
534
1
TriBeCa, NYC
Anybody here from Austin who cares to weight in?

I'm moving mainly for the 0% income tax and good business climate. I'm self employed, business is mobile and I can move to any state.

I am nervous because I have spent my entire life in very big cities (Manhattan and London) and am worried I will grow to be depressed in a relatively small city. What is it like living in Austin? What are some negative and positives to the city?

I am also considering Las Vegas and Florida, but realistically Austin appears to be my only option at this point because I am terrified of suburban environments and the feeling of "being stuck."

If I did not have such a heavy tax burden, I would ideally move to Los Angeles. It has all the culture, weather, and kookiness I want. However, that's off the board for me for the next couple of years due to the state of California's obscenely unfair tax laws and harassment of small business owners. I wouldn't even mind paying high taxes if it were only just that. However, I have heard in the news and personally from friends that if you make 6 figures or even just high 5 figures, California Franchise Tax Board will do nearly illegal things like automatically impose corporation taxes onto your personal income, or go through your trash and harass your business and personal relationships to dig info. One of my friends had to hire a lawyer and threaten to sue to get them to leave her alone and remove unjust fees on her back taxes. That sounds like a nightmare of a life so I will only be visiting Los Angeles for the next couple of years, and move out there after I retire and my income is close to 0.

How does Austin compare to someplace like Los Angeles or Manhattan?
 
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Oct 20, 2008
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manhattan
I haven't lived in Austin but know someone who has (she is currently living in California working for herself) and she loved it. It's hill country so it's cooler and greener than other places in TX and the university provides diversity and a more liberal atmosphere.

But before you completely give up on California based on anecdotes, why not consult an accountant and see what kind of tax hit you'll get by moving there.
 

saintgermain

Celine addict
Feb 20, 2012
534
1
TriBeCa, NYC
I haven't lived in Austin but know someone who has (she is currently living in California working for herself) and she loved it. It's hill country so it's cooler and greener than other places in TX and the university provides diversity and a more liberal atmosphere.

But before you completely give up on California based on anecdotes, why not consult an accountant and see what kind of tax hit you'll get by moving there.
Good advice! I will definitely meet up with a CA accountant before making a final decision. Hill country sounds amazing
 

redney

Lovin' Life!
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Apr 21, 2006
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We and many others fled California precisely for the tax reasons you mention. I loved living there (SF & Santa Barbara) but it got to be enough is enough with the insane taxes and mid-00s housing bubble so we high-tailed it outta there.

One of the places we considered when fleeing California was Austin, but decided against it. We liked the more liberal "flavor" of the city, the lively music scene and the variety of parks and lakes. High property taxes was one deterrent, and a few other things.
 

Swanky

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Jan 12, 2006
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Most people that have been there or lived there LOVE it! I'm in TX and we love Austin. DH would happily move back there if I'd have it!
Property can be high but the cost of living is so low in TX mostly + the no income tax factor.
Do you have kids? The best school districts always have the highest property tax rates typically. . . just food for thought.
It's centrally located in the US so it's great to travel in/out of; San Antonio, Dallas and Houston are short drives away!
 

surfchick

Member
May 6, 2014
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809
Austin is very kookie and liberal (for Texas). The music scene is outstanding! Austin always has something going on all year. The foodie scene is getting better and better.

Cons-liberal but it's still the south. Yes, the property taxes are very high. The college kids can get a bit annoying but that's probably because I'm getting old.

It feels cleaner and quieter then Manhattan or London. In order to get that big city feel living downtown is a must. I wouldn't live too far out of downtown otherwise it starts to feel like the 'burbs. It doesn't sound like you want the suburbs experience.
 
May 22, 2014
38
13
Texas
I think it offers a lot you won't find in most other cities of comparable size but I personally am not a big fan. I think it is a cool place to visit but I wouldn't want to live in Austin forever. It prides itself on being "weird" but after staying in Austin for a little while you'll come to realize it is actually pretty dull if you don't fit in to the city, meaning you don't enjoy the very laid back atmosphere or fit in with the style- everyone kind of looks the same, I've heard people refer to the style as "LA 5-10 years ago". If you don't look like a character from Portlandia, you'll be the odd one out at a lot of places.


The music scene is also pretty boring as every bar/club has the same sorts of bands all the time, practically every where in town, with a few exceptions, it won't be like anything you'd find in NY or even DC.


For sure, there are some good places to eat, but you won't find a lot of really innovative places nor much on the high end side, but still, I will fully admit to an abundance of (laid back) deliciousness around town.


For me it is just alright, but for a lot of people Austin is great and if it sounds like your scene you should come, just be aware there is a lot of snobbery in the air right now about people moving to Austin so be prepared to literally see bumper stickers telling people not to move to Austin. There is a real sentiment of "anyone who moves to Austin after me should go back to where they came from!".


From a business perspective, the lack of income tax is awesome but property taxes are nuts, also Austin is having issues right now with figuring out how to pay for schools, roads, maintenance, etc since so many people have moved recently and they're talking about more taxes...
 

Swanky

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^^I don't agree. We're "conservative" and my hubby would love to move back; and unless you're young, single and into clubbig the weirdness would get old for anyone to live with. Austin really isn't weird at all, it's just different compared to other typical Texan cities. There's something for everyone there; great for students, singles, families, etc. . . there's good reasons that so many companies are HQ'd in TX or are moving here.
 

glistenpearls

Ex-Sydneysider
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Sep 29, 2006
2,453
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Austin, Texas
Well I've been here for 7 years. While I agree that it's one of the best city in Texas, I did have a hard time adjusting.
Like you, I moved here from the big metropolitan city (Sydney, Australia) to Austin for DH's job and I got the biggest shock of my life. Mainly because I used to be active, rarely drive a car to get anywhere because Sydney has a great public transport and it's very accessible and walkable everywhere. Then suddenly...quiet, nothing and I couldn't get anywhere the way I want.

Then of course 7 years ago, we didn't have as many shops here lol (Domain hasn't even finished), I got bored easily, nothing to do living in burbs. Also ACL, sxsw, going to 6th street is not my style. I hate the heat. I feel better these days, 7 years later but to be honest I love this place but not in love if you know what I mean.

To your question, I don't think we can compare Austin to LA or Manhattan. They are completely different. Austin is a lot cleaner for sure but traffic is bad (I-35 and mopac) because we have a lot of ppl moving here but yet we don't have a good enough structure to maintain the increase.

Our property tax is pretty high--my area anyway (approx 3.2%) but Austin has plenty of great schools. Housing price is affordable compares to LA or Manhattan. I used to lived in 700-1000sq ft apartment that cost 600K plus to purchase depending on location. Here we could afford to purchase 3000+ sq ft house with big backyard for less than 400K. House price is going up so we are doing good economically. I never had issues finding jobs, I got laid off once during recession lol but in general our unemployment rate is pretty low.

Like others who said they love Austin, I think you will love it too esp if you enjoy the live music scene, festivals etc. We are pretty laid back here and didn't have to dress up for everything (I felt that when I was in Sydney I had to compete to look fashionable, branded--could be because my circle were into that), heck I could go to LV here wearing $2 flip flops for all I care and nobody even notice. And btw I didn't notice the liberal atmosphere. Maybe I'm just ignorant :smile:
 
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Swanky

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I think moving to most US cities from Australia could be difficult. :hugs:
Will you return "home" eventually?
 

Swanky

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I think moving to most US cities from Australia could be difficult. :hugs:
Will you return "home" eventually?
 
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