I love California, but the tax rate is preposterous. And since my lease is up for renewal (and my landlord raised the rent again - 3rd time in 2 years!), I decided it was good time to look for alternatives. As you may or may not know, state tax differs from state to state in the US, and some states actually have 0% tax rate.
My modus operandi is simple: use my weekends to visit different cities in the US, touring the area and getting some apartments' data.
I've used a trip to Raleigh to get a long weekend in Atlanta, GA. I spent some time with friends and some time surveying some very nice properties. I collected the data and moved on to my next target: it was time to mess with Texas.
I've used a business trip to Dallas to start my trip. Driving south on I35 toward Austin, I stopped at Waco for refreshments (I've only heard of that place before in relationship to crazy cults) and then at Georgetown. I visited an amazing complex, located at a bend in the San Gabriel river - very nice, convenient and affordable - but too far from an airport.
I continued to Austin. I stayed at the university area and started visiting apartment complexes.
Situated in a hilly are, Austin is an amazing city, with rolling hills, rivers and nice urban areas. I still think of some of the places I've seen. The view from some of those is amazing. Another one, called "The Domain", is situated in the midst of an open-air mall. Very modern and comfortable.
From Austin I continued to Houston, and from there I flew home. I intend to visit several other places (Washington state is next on my list) before rendering my final decision.
As always, I suffer from the too-many-options syndrome. To read more about that look no further than this week's recommendation.
I'd like to recommend Barry Schwartz's book The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less.
The book describes the common problem we all suffer from. Starting in the mid 20th century, we all started having way too many options (from dozens of types of cereal in the supermarket, to job opportunities, to states or even countries, we can work and live in). The writer does his best to explain the root cause of the problem and suggest several solutions.
You can find a link in the Amazon Widget.