Why Moving from California to Austin Isn’t a ‘Dystopia’


Thinking about moving from California to Austin? 

If you’re anything like the droves of Californians scrambling to move to Texas (Austin, specifically) you’re probably wondering how it stacks up to where you currently live.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the Bay Area-based sales exec, Brett Alder, who couldn’t wait to move to Austin, only to later regret it and move back to California…

Notably, he dubbed Austin a “conservative dystopia”. 

(Dystopia means “an imagined state or society where is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic.”)

It sounds dramatic, because it is. But Austin is pretty awesome as long as you’re realistic and prepared. 

Politics aside—because let’s be honest, that’s stressful and simply not our jam—we’re proud of every inch of our state. 

With 63,174 California residents moving to Texas in 2019 alone (the most influx from any state)1 we’d like to offer a more positive perspective about our capital city. 

Here are 3 weirdly satisfying things that Californians can expect when moving to Austin!

1. Austin’s Cultural Scene Is Distinctly Texan—With a Worldly Twist

Whether it’s an artistic cultural exhibition or foodie fest, Austin is on par with California in terms of diversity by Texas standards. 

Events happen daily, with some of the most world-renowned festivals taking place year-round. 

Texans as a whole are incredibly proud of our brand of barbeque and Tex-Mex cuisine.

Austin takes this to a whole ‘nother level. 

Instead of relying solely on Yelp, why not talk to locals and do a little more research on the things to do and places to eat? 

You’ll find it difficult to choose from Austin’s myriad of mouth-watering restaurants, bars, and barbeque joints known for their range of ethnic and regional influences! 

If you want a cinematic scene with more of an indie flair, why struggle in the highly competitive world of Hollywood, California?

Austin is an excellent choice for launching a career in film or simply enjoying a festival. Cult films, blockbuster TV shows and movies alike have long been filmed in Austin.

Heck, in 2016, Moviemaker.com even voted the city the third-best for filmmakers2.

2. Cali Transplants Who Plan Wisely Can Handle the Austin Heat

One of Alder’s biggest complaints included not only high energy costs for his 4,000-square foot home, but the hot and humid weather in Austin. 

Yes, it’s hot (duh, it’s Texas)—much hotter than California. 

Despite having lower energy costs across Texas, you’ll use more to cool down/heat up your home. 

Combined with the 300 days of sunshine3 that Austin gets, make sure you can handle the heat and don’t mind spending less time outdoors during 100-degree temperatures. 

But, there are ways around paying so much money to heat and cool a large home, and it’s best to do your research before you get to Austin.

Humid air takes longer to heat and cool down4, so you’ll need to be much more strategic when leaving California’s temperate climate for the muggier Lone Star state.

  • Install a smart thermostat- This will help you cool down your home efficiently on a timer and you can even set it by specific days or monitor settings with a mobile app. 
  • Invest in a humidity control system- Dehumidifiers will help inhibit any mold growth (fungi love humid and warm conditions) and zap moisture from the air. Whole-home systems can be installed by an HVAC technician to automate your humidity control even better.
  • Cycle the bathroom fan- That fan in the bathroom isn’t just for number 2’s. It should be your BFF when you want to keep air and surroundings dry. Just remember to turn it off so you don’t waste energy!
  • Consider getting a dryer duct kit- Reroute air from your dryer (non-gas dryers only) either outdoors during warm days or indoors when it’s cold. Combine this with a dehumidifier to combat condensation. 
  • Check any cracks and reseal- Your home can’t efficiently heat or cool if there’s air getting in or escaping. Closely inspect your future residence to determine if any areas need to be resealed or repaired. 

If you haven’t moved to Austin yet:

Find out what you’re currently paying for energy, including the usage, and write it down. 

An Excel or Google spreadsheet should work fine.

The goal is to compare what you’re currently paying with the energy and water rates where you’re planning to move. 

Even if you don’t know exactly where you’ll be moving to within Austin, you’ll have a solid rate already recorded for future reference.

If you’ve already moved to Austin: 

It’s still a good idea to check what you’re currently paying (especially if your bill is higher than it was in California). 

Use an energy comparison provider like ElectricityPlans.com or Power to Choose to compare rates in Texas. Enter your zip code and instantly get a lineup of rates to choose from.

Lastly, if storms and harsh weather have you concerned, factor in getting the appropriate level of renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance to your moving costs. 

You may even be eligible for assistance or discounts through certain company projects—like weatherization and solar or wind energy programs!

3. Austin Has a Lower Crime Rate & More Economic Opportunity Than California

Looking to move somewhere where there’s more opportunity to buy a home?

Austin is a good choice for a few reasons.

In general, Texas is known for its Southern hospitality and more laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere.

Austin will give you the same experience with a bigger metro-city feeling.

Ranking 28th out of the 30 largest cities in the US for violent crime5, you can feel safer there than in many Californian cities.

In addition to the lower crime rate, Austin has an existing reputation as a technology hub. This reputation is quickly gaining steam as more large companies and tech workers are ditching higher-priced metros with state taxes (Texas has zero) for cities like Austin.

To name a few, big brands like Tesla, Oracle, Lowe’s, and others are either relocating to Austin or expanding operations and opening regional offices there.

Of course, current employees and aspiring industry newbies alike will follow the money—and so can you!

Key industries for employment in Austin6

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Clean Technology
  • Corporate HQs and Regional Offices
  • Creative & Digital Media Technology
  • Data Management
  • Financial Service & Insurance
  • Space Technology
  • Life Sciences

Did you notice that many of the key industries in Austin mirror those in California? 

Even better news is the fact that Austin’s economy is bouncing back, proving to be more resilient than many other cities impacted by the widespread COVID-19 pandemic job losses of 2020.

National & Local Housing Market Data | Zillow

home values in Austin compared to Californian cities

Housing prices are also lower compared to basically anywhere in California’s major cities. In the charts on average home value below, Austin clocks in at $378,454. While that’s above the U.S. average of $266,104, it’s well under even the least expensive major California city mapped on this chart ($678,665). 

So yes, homeownership is definitely within your reach if you’re fleeing California for more opportunity. 

It’s even more attainable if you’re realistic (a.k.a, not aiming for a McMansion) and have funds from previous home equity, or savings from a decent-paying job. 

Observed Rent Index | Zillow

rent prices

Rental prices in California versus Austin are comparable with housing averages.  They’re even more of a deal when you consider the national average ($1,740)!

When compared to major cities in California, Austin is still less expensive for renters with an average price of ($1,548).

Wrapping Up

Californians, please don’t expect Austin to feel 100% like the cities you’re leaving behind in the Sunshine State…

California is unique and so is Texas.

That pretty much goes triple for Austin which we fondly call ‘weird’ for a very good reason. 

The best way to acclimate to any new place is to keep an open mind and do lots of research. 

Keep in mind those two simple things and you’ll find that a utopia awaits you in Austin instead of regrets.

Sources:

  1. ‌‌U.S. Census Bureau. “Moves to and from the South and West Dominate Recent Migration Flows.” The United States Census Bureau, 29 Apr. 2019, www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/04/moves-from-south-west-dominate-recent-migration-flows.html. 3 Feb. 2021.
  2. Hensley, Ellie. “Austin One of Best Cities for Filming — Even Better than LA.” Austin Business Journal, Austin Business Journal, 21 Jan. 2016, www.bizjournals.com/austin/blog/creative/2016/01/austin-one-of-best-cities-for-filming-even-better.html. 7 Feb. 2021.
  3. Media, Yu. “Austin, TX – Detailed Climate Information and Monthly Weather Forecast | Weather Atlas.” Weather Atlas, 2021, www.weather-us.com/en/texas-usa/austin-climate#climate_text_1. 7 Feb. 2021.
  4. Guy, Energy. “How Humidity Affects Heating and Cooling – Energy Forums.” Energy Forums, 11 Feb. 2016, energyforums.net/hvac/how-humidity-affects-heating-and-cooling/.  7 Feb. 2021. 
  5. ‌Mulder, Brandon. “Fact-Check: Is Austin One of the Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.?” Austin American-Statesman, Austin American-Statesman, 6 Nov. 2020, www.statesman.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/11/06/fact-check-is-austin-one-of-most-dangerous-cities-in-us/43010523/. 7 Feb. 2021.
  6. “Key Industries.” Austin Chamber of Commerce, 2019, www.austinchamber.com/economic-development/key-industries. 7 Feb. 2021.

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Decluttering Your House: How to Get Rid of Things You No Longer Want in Austin


If some days you look around and realize your house is too cluttered, you're not alone. We all have things we just don't use anymore, and yet we allow them to continue to sit in our house, closet, or garage, day in and day out, simply taking up space. You know that treadmill you haven't turned on since 2002 and now just acts as a clothes rack? Or maybe that outfit you bought three years ago but still haven't found an occasion to wear it? Well, how about setting aside some time in the next month and getting rid of that stuff once and for all? It will give you more space, and it will feel great to finally get rid of it! And if you plan on moving soon, think about how much easier your move will go when you have fewer things for your Austin movers to load up and transport. Here's how to get started on getting rid of items you don't need.

Keep It in the Family (or At Least Within Your Circle of Friends)

Maybe you've finally come to terms with the fact that you're probably not ever going to step on that treadmill again…but your sister--who has been trying to get in shape--just might! After all, one person's "trash" is another person's treasure.

So as you go through the things you don't want, think about friends and family members who might be able to use some of them. Maybe you have a perfectly good set of pots and pans you never cook with, and your best friend--who's just getting into cooking more lately--would love them.

Or perhaps your son's old clothes would be perfect for your neighbor's younger son. Whether you donate your unwanted items to friends and family or sell them at a super low price, keeping them within your circle is a great way to help out loved ones while getting rid of things you no longer need.

Make Some Money While Downsizing

If no one you know wants your belongings, another option is to sell them. Among the easiest ways to do this is to take pictures and put them on Facebook Marketplace, or any local Austin Facebook groups that let members buy and sell. In fact, there are a few groups that are specifically for buying and selling in the Austin area. Similarly, you can post your items for sale on sites like eBay or Craigslist.

If you prefer to sell your items in person rather than online, consider going to a local resale store. For example, you can get money for your used clothing, shoes, purses and accessories at the Plato's Closet in South Austin.

If you have furniture or household items to sell, head to consignment stores that take these items. Design with Consignment is one example of this kind of store in Austin. This way, you get your unwanted belongings off your hands--making more room in your home--and you make a little money at the same time!

As nice as it is to make some extra cash when downsizing, it's not always a practical endeavor. Maybe you don't have time to take pictures and write a description for every item you have so you can sell online, and you don't want to spend your Saturday at the local consignment store. In this case, donating is a good idea.

In fact, since donations are usually tax-deductible, this tactic can be just as profitable as selling your stuff, especially if you usually owe at tax time. So head to the Austin Goodwill or Salvation Army to make your donations as you downsize. Most locations can even pick up your items if you can't transport them yourself.

You can also donate gently used professional attire to Dress for Success, as they're often looking for free clothes, shoes, and other accessories. This way, you know you're helping a good cause while making more room in your home.

Throw Out Old Items

You know that saying, "when in doubt, throw it out?" Well, it applies here! If you know you don't use it, and no one you know want wants or needs it, it's probably time to just throw it away.

This is particularly true of stained or torn clothing and shoes, ripped up furniture and broken household appliances. If you're having trouble getting rid of items you want to throw out, you can contact LoadUp in Austin to come pick up your junk.

Following these tips can help you get rid of anything you don't need in your house. And if the reason you're trying to declutter is that you plan on moving in Austin soon, contact us to schedule Austin movers to come help you from start to finish on moving day!


Realtor Spotlight Richard Schley


Richard Schley (pronounced “Sly”) says:

Richard Schley

“Call me when your house absolutely, positively has to be sold!”

Meet Austin Broker and Realtor Richard Schley. He grew up in Dallas’ University Park and, when in high school, got a summer job at Friendly Chevrolet sweeping floors for $1.10 an hour. Well, you never know where that first job may lead you. Richard spent 40 years with General Motors opening and running dealerships in Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

He made it back to Austin 19 years ago (UT grad 1970) and decided to retire 8 years ago. But after 2 months of going stir-crazy he became an Austin Realtor. What does running car dealerships have in common with being a highly-successful Realtor? Richard says, “It taught me how to match people with the right product and how to negotiate a fair deal for both parties.”


Your first car was? A 1962 Impala: 6-clylinder, 3-speed column shift and a hang-on air conditioner that froze the knee caps. 

Favorite Austin restaurant? Azul Tequila by my house. Great food!

Are you a dog or cat person? Actually, both. But I have 3 cats. I call myself a certified cat socializer for the Humane Society.

What do you do for fun? Race sports cars.

What celebrity would you like to have living next door? Well, years ago I got to hang out with Paul Newman and his car at the race track. What a great, down-to-earth guy. As long as you didn’t talk about his films or his career…he was ready to be your friend. But today, I guess it would be retired race car driver Dan Gurney.

The secret of your success? That’s easy. Personal service. I personally scout out to find my clients their ideal home AND I personally handle the sale of their homes. Even during the recession, the houses I listed were sold within 2 weeks. The car business taught me it’s all about turning inventory. I want my client’s property to be on the market for as little time as possible.

Just like our Austin movers, Richard is very knowledgable about the city of Austin! If you need a local and professional mover you can trust, call 3 Men Movers for a Free Quote today!

 

www.SchleyRealty.com

512-983-0021

[email protected]


Realtor Spotlight Edna Stalik


Elegant Edna!

Edna Stalik is a successful Associate Broker with Realtor SKY Realty.

Edna Stalik

Associate Broker/Realtor SKY Realty

Edna Stalik Realtor Spotlight

Married for 20 years to a military man who was transferred many times, Edna knows first-hand the stress that comes with moving. She also knows the stress of being divorced and having to do things on her own. That’s why she has a heart for the elderly who are facing downsizing and those moving out of their “big house” into something smaller.

"I bring the total package to my clients. Not only will I sell their house, but I have professional associates who will help them decide what to keep and what to get rid of…plus a wonderful team of careful, caring movers.” Edna brings a strong customer service philosophy to the real estate business and strives to be a good listener and a good communicator.
“I look for growth opportunities in everything I do. Helping people buy or sell a home is one of life’s greatest opportunities to grow and achieve the lifestyle you desire. It inspires me to give my all every day.”


Your first job? Behind the soda fountain at Thompson’s Drug Store. I absolutely LOVED it!

Your first car? A white 1957 Chevy.

Favorite movies? It’s a Wonderful Life and Steel Magnolias

Best restaurant?Galaxy Café, because they have a fantastic glutton-free menu.

Reading any good books? Yes. Grain Brain. It’s all about glutton. I saw Dr. David Perlmutter.

Favorite singer of all time? I guess I’m old school. It’s Elvis. What a voice!

Proudest accomplishment? Raising my 3 wonderful sons. Two live in Pflugerville and one in Denton.

Dog or Cat? Absolutely cat. Her name is Allie and is a rescue cat. Does that make her an Allie Cat?

The secret of your success? I connect with and share compassion with my clients.


To be a successful realtor in Austin, you have to know the city well! Like our Austin movers, Edna is very informative when it comes to our state's capital!

Edna can be reached at:

512-799-1043

www.EdnaStalik.com


Realtor Spotlight Larry and Ceci Burklow


Meet the Burklows with David Weekly Homes

The dynamic duo (Larry and Ceci Burklow) are passionate about using their combined 22 years of experience to help their clients buy the right home for their wants and needs.

Larry and Ceci Burklow

Larry and Ceri Burklow Realtor Spotlight

The Burklows are proud to represent with one of the most reputable builders – David Weekley Homes – which is the largest private residential builder in the nation. At David Weekly Homes the Burklows are experts in helping their clients select the right home, in the right community. Larry represents the charming Stoneridge Subdivision in Buda. Ceci’s subdivision is Belterra in the acclaimed Dripping Springs ISD (ranked #6 in the state.) One of the benefits of their both working for David Weekly Homes is that they enjoy the same days off.Larry grew up in Austin; Ceci in St. Louis. But they met while they were both living in Hawaii. It was Ceci who sold Larry his first house on the island of Oahu…and the rest is history. They moved to the Austin area back in 2006.

 


Dog or cat lover? Both. Bandit (a rescue cat from Hawaii) and Penny, a cute little poodle from Austin Pets Alive. 

Which celebrity would you like to have living next door? Jay Abraham. He’s a fascinating conference speaker, author and marketing expert.

Favorite singer? Jack Johnson. His songs remind us of the islands - relaxing with positive lyrics.

Favorite restaurant? Depends on which part of town. Either Jack Allen’s or Bess’ on 6th Street.

Where do you go to get away? We enjoy taking day trips around central Texas. Plus we also love to chill at our getaway at Canyon Lake and watch the deer.

Red or White Wine? Red. Especially from The Duchman Winery in Driftwood.


The Burklows and our Austin movers have something very important in common: they both have a great understanding about our state's capital! It takes someone who is dedicated and knowledgeable about the city they live in to understand exactly what their clients need.

Are you needing to move soon? Give your local and profesisonal Austin movers a call today!

(512) 357-6683

In the mean time, download our comprehensive Moving Checklist to help you get started!

 


Realtor Spotlight Eric Peterson


 

Enter The World of Eric Peterson

Eric Peterson Austin Realtor

As Owner/Broker of Austin real estate brokerage Kopa Real Estate, Eric sees trust as the cornerstone of both his business. As a result, many who started out as clients are now long-term friends who enjoy referring their friends and family to him.

With a degree in Marketing and Finance, Eric began as a mortgage broker in 1996. Then in 2003, after finding that many of his clients were coming to him for advice on real estate as well as their loans, he obtained his real estate license and worked dual careers before becoming a realtor full time.

Growing up outside of New York City in Brewster, Eric enjoyed attending the Mets games with his dad. He is also a big Green Bay Packers fan…which is how he met his wife and business partner, Joyce. She is from Malaysia and knew nothing of football. But there she was - at Billy’s Sports Bar watching the Packers game. Eric says it was love at first sight. She has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from U.T.


 Your tension reliever? Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Similar to wrestling.

Favorite Austin Restaurant? Casino El Camino – great burgers

First car? Plymouth Reliant station wagon. My dad made sure my car wasn’t a “chick magnet.”

If you could have a celebrity living next door? Quarterback Aaron Rodgers

Read any good books lately? Zilllow Talk – New Rules in Real Estate

Dog or cat lover? We have a pair of fantastic golden retrievers.

Dream vacation? Paris. In fact, we’re already making plans

The key to your success? Consistent communication, real estate expertise, and patience in making sure my clients understand every detail.

Favorite non-profit? Austin Sunshine Camps. I was honored to be their “Volunteer of The Year.”


 Need to move to/from Austin soon? You need Austin movers who are knowledgeable about the city! Call 3 Men Movers for a free quote today!

(512) 357-6683

In the meantime, download our great comprehensive Moving Checklist to prepare yourself for the big day!