Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Is Austin Texas a good place to retire?

Today we'll start my new series of a semi-in-depth look at cities I'm interested in for a 2nd retirement home (one will likely be somewhere in Virginia near my Jeannie is adamant that she will live near him in retirement, even if for part of the year). I'm starting with Austin as it's the only city on my list (so far) that I've actually been to. And, it starts with an "A". So....A-way we go!

I could type and type from memory (HA!) thoughts from my pathetic research, but the hay with that...I just copied a big blob from the Wikipedia entry (yes, I took the EASY way out, I know!) THANK YOU Wikipedia!

Austin (About this sound pronunciation ) (/ˈɒstɨn/ or /ˈɔːstɨn/) is the capital of the US state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas, Austin is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the fourth-most populous city in Texas. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006.[3] Austin is also the second largest state capital in the United States.[4] Austin had a July 1, 2013 population of 885,400 (U.S. Census Bureau estimate). The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 1,883,051 as of July 1, 2013.

In the 1830s, pioneers began to settle the area in central Austin along the Colorado River. After Republic of Texas Vice President Mirabeau B. Lamar visited the area during a buffalo-hunting expedition between 1837 and 1838, he proposed that the republic's capital then located in Houston, be relocated to the area situated on the north bank of the Colorado River near the present-day Congress Avenue Bridge. In 1839, the site was officially chosen as the republic's new capital (the republic's seventh and final location) and was incorporated under the name Waterloo. Shortly thereafter, the name was changed to Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas" and the republic's first secretary of state.

The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas at Austin.[5] After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city and, by the 1980s, it emerged as a center for technology and business.[6] A number of Fortune 500 companies have headquarters or regional offices in Austin including Advanced Micro Devices, Apple Inc., eBay, Google, IBM, Intel, Texas Instruments, 3M, Oracle Corporation and Whole Foods Market.[7] Dell's worldwide headquarters is located in nearby Round Rock, a suburb of Austin.

Residents of Austin are known as "Austinites".[8] They include a diverse mix of government employees (e.g., university faculty and staff, law enforcement, political staffers); foreign and domestic college students; musicians; high-tech workers; blue-collar workers and businesspeople.[9] The city is home to development centers for many technology corporations; it adopted the "Silicon Hills" nickname in the 1990s. However, the current official slogan promotes Austin as "The Live Music Capital of the World", a reference to the many musicians and live music venues within the area, and the long-running PBS TV concert series Austin City Limits.[10][11]

In recent years, some Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird".[12] This interpretation of the classic, "Texas-style" sense of independence refers to: a desire to protect small, unique, local businesses from being overrun by large corporations.[13] In the late 1800s, Austin also became known as the City of the "Violet Crown" for the wintertime violet glow of color across the hills just after sunset.[14] Even today, many Austin businesses use the term "violet crown" in their name. Austin is known as a "clean air city" for the city's stringent no-smoking ordinances that apply to all public places and buildings, including restaurants and bars.[15]

The FBI ranked Austin as the second safest major city in the U.S. for the year 2012.[16]

This last line intrigued me...of all the things I have been thinking are important in a place to live, I never really considered the overall safety. That's an interesting fact, considering that Texas is a right to carry (concealed weapons/open carry weapons) state. On one of my first trips there I was at a subway in North Houston getting a meal before we headed south to see our little brother Dave (my big brother Greg was with me). There was a line of people waiting to order, and probably 2/3rds of them had pistols on their hips, including one nicely dressed professional looking lady. It seemed very odd for me,a California resident, where people would go into HYSTERICS if they saw you carrying a weapon in public (even though it IS legal to "Open" carry an unloaded weapon). I'm betting "bad guys" don't live long down there...home robberies, car-jackings, etc...considering the large amount of the population who is armed in some manner. They (the "bad guys" must all come to California where they're safe ( kind'a political there).

ANYWAY. Here is a month by month weather graph for the temperature and rainfall (with huge gratitude to for my poaching of their charts):

 Here's the Wikipedia bit on the climate (thanks again Wikipedia! Note: their month by month weather graph is embedded in this so just enjoy a different chart of the same thing):

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Austin has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cfa), characterized by hot summers and mild winters. Austin is usually at least partially sunny, receiving nearly 2650 hours, or 60.3% of the possible total, of bright sunshine per year.[67]
Austin summers are usually hot, with average July and August highs in the high-90s °F (34–36 °C). Highs reach 90 °F (32.2 °C) on 116 days per year, and 100 °F (37.8 °C) on 18.[68] The highest recorded temperature was 112 °F (44 °C) occurring on September 5, 2000 and August 28, 2011.[69][70][71]
Winters in Austin are mild and relatively dry. For the entire year, Austin averages 88 days below 45 °F (7.2 °C) and 13 days when the minimum temperature falls below freezing.[68] The lowest recorded temperature was −2 °F (−19 °C) on January 31, 1949.[72] About every two years or so, Austin experiences an ice storm that freezes roads over and affects much of the city for 24 to 48 hours.[72] Snowfall is rare in Austin; a 3-inch (7.6 cm) snowstorm brought the city to a near standstill in 1985.[73]
Monthly averages for Austin's weather data are shown in a graphical format to the right, and in a more detailed tabular format below.

I personally thought THIS bit (again, from Wikipedia!) is important:

Austin is known as the most bike-friendly city in Texas and has a Silver-level rating from the League of American Bicyclists.[citation needed] There are over 80 miles of bike lanes in Austin. Over 2% of commuters get to work by bike and many more Austinites ride for daily transportation needs, according to the American Community Survey. The North Loop neighborhood along with the Manor Road area have the highest bike commuting rates, with over 13% of residents biking to work in 2012. Biking is also very popular recreation-ally with the extensive network of trails in the city.[citation needed]
The city's bike advocacy organization is Bike Austin. Bike Texas, a state-level advocacy also has its main office in Austin.[citation needed]
Bicycles are a popular transportation choice among students, faculty, and staff at the University of Texas. According to a survey done at UT, 9% of commuters bike to campus.

Back to my thoughts: Being a QUITE large city, Austin has all of the sports, theater, shopping, dining, and whatnot that anybody could possibly ask for. I guess all that's really left to cover is real-estate (as in: can we AFFORD to go there?)

Here's a link to an article (too big to post here), but overall, it's not good. Unless you're moving there from a HIGH price area (such as San Francisco, or anywhere on the north-east coast I'd imagine).

The Incredible Shrinking dollar in Austin

In a nutshell, the median priced home is around $230,000 to $240,000 (cheap by our standards here in CA, and we're not even close to San Francisco!) But for a 2nd home? (for us anyway)...that's kind'a pricey, and likely more than we would like to spend (by about $230,000 to $240,000). For us, it would be a fairly long drive between Virginia and Austin twice a year (minimum). But not as long as it could be, considering I'm also looking at places in Arizona , Utah and Oregon.

At this point I can't even rank Austin, as I have nothing to rank it against. That will come in the following weeks as I review other cities of interest. And as always, PLEASE feel free to toss out other places that I haven't mentioned. Right now I'm WIDE OPEN (and I'm not saying they have to be IN the U.S., as there are plenty of Ex-pats out there living large in great weather with a substantially cheaper cost of living...places such as Belize for one).

And don't forget: this Saturday night/Sunday morning is the evil, dreaded, horrible, stupid, ridiculous, and LAME "Fall Back" time change. And thus, it will be DARK by freaking FIVE THIRTY come Sunday evening. I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE this part of the year.

And did I mention that I think the time-change SUCKS?

Oh well....have a great weekend!


And btw, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Here's our pumpkins for this year (see below...we carve them the night before every year). It's always a competition between us....Jeannie did her's first and had it covered w/ the kitchen towel when I was going back and forth getting my dinner (Digorno Pizza)...and then I did mine, and THEN we light our candles and turn out the lights and can finally see each others. And I get out the tripod and take a few shots. It's as much a tradition for us as putting up Christmas decorations.

It's supposed to RAIN here for Halloween...that will be something...we haven't had any appreciable rain for about a YEAR now (not kidding) and it rains on HALLOWEEN? Poor kids...we have a LOT of candy to give out too....we always get a LOT of kids. We'll see how this year goes. So get out there and ENJOY!



  1. I'm SO excited that ya'll want to chat about future retirement! Since I starting thinking about it about 2 years ago, I've had no one to talk with/compare info. Till NOW! And yessiree, if I had the money, I'd DEFINITELY be a snowbird! Question - what do you do with the one house when you're away? Who looks after it/shovels/makes sure it wasn't broken into? Also, would you BUY at the other location or just rent? What months do you plan to go to the other place? Nov thru Mar?

    And you should probably make up a list of priorities in what you want in the retirement location. Helps rule places out. For me, WEATHER is 1st, then a fairly low cost of living (especially state income & property taxes but also housing prices & home/car insurances, cost of utilities, all which can vary widely from state to state), safety, access to excellent health care, be within 30 miles or so of a major airport (at least for 1st 10 years), & finally, places & things I'd want to go/do in the area. For most people, proximity to family & friends trumps all.

    On the East coast, I don't know if there is a place close to the ocean AND mountains AND has warm weather in the winter. Austin & Greenville sound like possibilities for you Matt as long as you don't mind if it's not real warm in the winter.

    Also, how far from Richmond? Do you want to be within 500 miles? 1000? 1500? I looked it up & Greenville is just 390 miles from Richmond & Austin is 1472. Arizona would be over 2000 for sure.

    Also, if Austin is too pricy, Waco seems much cheaper as regards to houses. I watch that Fixer Upper show on HGTV & they are based in Waco. They've taken actual super-cheap DUMPS & made them into really nice homes! Waco looks about 100-200 miles above Austin. Don't know about the land or cycling in that area though. :)

    And hey, doesn't the nighttime temp look awfully CHILLY in Flagstaff already?! Brrrrrrrr.

    And apparently, St George, Utah took the brunt of NUCLEAR TEST FALLOUT back in the 60s!

    BTW, what do & will you do with your Hawaii condo? Do you rent it out to make money? Good idea! Too bad your envisioned Hawaii retirement won't happen though. Still, you can still go there at least once in a while, right?

    LOVE the pumpkin pics! They are EXCELLENT! And Happy Halloween to you & to all at the Asylum! :) :)

    1. Hey Susie...well...who looks after the house? Possibly nobody...depends on where it is, how extreme the environment Mom and her husband live in Yuma AZ in the winter, and Minnesota in the summer...nobody looks after their Yuma place all summer...tho it's blazing all just survives. Her husband has family up in MN so they can peek in on the house now and then, they keep the furnace set for some low temp, but warm enough so-as not to freeze any pipes during the winter.

      As to what months, kind of depends on what the winter is I'm avoiding...and how far away I/we need to go. Initially it'll be just me evading winter, as Jeannie will be working for 5 more in as for that, the closer I am the better...can come and go. Greenville would be ideal for that...and I don't need a tropical winter (though that would be NICE)...I'm just escaping the COLD...cold is ok. Well, not really ok, but it'll have to do maybe.

      Most likely the first 5 years (while Jeannie is still working) I'd be renting a place somewhere, maybe even diff places now and then, kind of scoping out potential places to buy a place when Jeannie retires. Obviously closer to Richmond is better...Jeannie keeps talking about Florida...not really a fan, but I've only really been to the Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach can't speak for northern / southern/ western FL.

      As to Flagstaff...yeah, that's kind of already slipping off my's a nice place, but still a bit TOO cold already I'm afraid. Likely the Oregon places will fall into the same category. Also they are QUITE far away from VA.

      Hawaii condo is rented full time...we've had a couple in there for about 6 years now...that's all good. We just get beat up now and then on maintenance...replacing things gets pricey.

      And hey....all that radiation in St George must be pretty much gone by now, eh? Or do all the 'locals' have large growths resembling an extra arm or something?

      Hawaii is ALWAYS great to visit...just not do-able as a 2nd home if we have dogs...

      We'll see how the trick-or-treats goes...the rain is on it's way...could start any time (looks that way anyway). That will seriously impact our numbers, unless it holds off till 8 or 9pm. We shall see soon enough.

  2. Today's highs and lows in the select retirement cities:
    Austin: 79/66
    Greenville: 63/41
    St George: 61/37
    Sedona: 60/38
    Scottsdale: 73/52
    Bend: 53/44
    Portland: 56/54
    and new to my list: Asheville, NC: 62/39 (Ashville isn't too far north of Greenville. Asheville is IN the Blue Ridge Mountains, where-as Greenville is in the foothills. As a road/Mt biker I'm interested things like this.

  3. Last night I was out mowing the lawn, and noticed Sydney was up at the front door for 'a while'...finally went up there, and found that she had been chewing on Jeannie's pumpkin (specifically, chewing up "the ghost"). I had placed our pumpkins on the porch after Halloween like I always do. So now they're both in the green-waste recycling container (which is picked up today thankfully). There's just no limit to what Syd likes to eat! She "got the ghost" for sure!

  4. Eugene Oregon? I think that I had a friend that moved there from San Diego and really liked it, but I don't remember anything about the weather... I'm in a hurry right now, will check in later...


  5. Hey Matt - I've been reading about Asheville for many years. Supposed to be very nice & is actually known as a retirement destination. However, from what I've read, the houses are quite pricey. Supposedly, many of the retired Bank of America execs from Charlotte, NC move here. Also, as it's in the mountains, the weather would probably be worse than Richmond in the winter. (Which is why I crossed it off my list a while back - weather is KEY for me! It's the only reason I'm thinking of moving out of MD, well, that & the cost of living, but that's only really bad in the Washington area where I've lived the last 30 years.)

    And I think renting for those 5 years while Jeannie is still working sounds like a great idea - you can "test" out various areas.

    I'm thinking there must be smaller towns in Georgia & SC that could fit your bill - close to mts but not TOO wintry. But, I would think ANY "mountain" area would be cold & snowy in winter.

    BTW, you didn't mention what YOU will be doing during those 5 years. Do you plan to do any part-time work or will you just be biking, eating, relaxing, eating, playing with the dogs, eating, renovating your new house, & um, eating? Which sounds like a GREAT "plan" to me! :) :)

    Also, I'm not 100% sure about Richmond home prices, but going by episodes of House Hunters, houses there look MUCH cheaper than where I live & I'm sure than in CA! You will probably be able to buy a mini-mansion! Or will you just rent there for 5 years? Or will you buy something smallish & both you AND Jeannie will be snowbirds after she retires?

    And Rae - where did you brother live in Atlanta? In the town itself or in one of the outlying suburbs/towns? The crime rate does concern me a great deal but I was hoping it would be different in the outlying areas. I've also read the traffic can be really bad. Of course, the people in the county where I grew up think THEIR traffic is "bad" & it's virtually nonexistent compared to rush hour in the DC metro area. Also, I think maybe I was too quick to rule out Arkansas - I've read just recently that there are some really nice retirement areas there. Still, I think it may be a bit too cold for me. But maybe not Matt or you.

    What about Charlotte, NC? City but not too big. Major sports teams. 100 or so miles to the East is the ocean & 100 or so miles to the west is mts. And I know it's not FLA weather but I don't think they get TOO much snow, I'll have to investigate! :)

    Columbia, SC? I don't think it's in the mts but it's the locale for Univ of SC, is capital of state, & like Charlotte, is centralized between ocean to the east & mts to the west. Plus, it MUST be even warmer, right?

    The only bit I know about the FLA panhandle is from House Hunters & of course, Florida State Univ is located in Tallahassee, but that's ALL I know about that town. Lot's of nice beach areas on the coast, but if hurricanes worry you, that is NOT a place I would personally consider.

    Later gators!

    1. I'd never head anything at all about Asheville...just saw it on the map when I as researching Greenville....just a bit north, and IN the mts...I'm sure it has a temp hit from that but just how much I need to watch and see (and maybe LIVE there a winter renting to see for myself). But that's all 8 years from now...

      And retirement plans (while Jeannie is still working) is to ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY! Ride nearly every day (if I'm able), EAT, SNOOZE, watch whatever I feel like (while EATING some more!), spend time w/ the babies, and whatever else strikes my fancy 8 years from now. I'd say part-time work is probably a no, unless I have TOO much time and not enough $...everything is negotiable I guess. I'd sure like NOT to work tho...

      I haven't really even looked at the rest of the southern states...and you're right, I'm sure there are plenty of places that will fit the bill. As far as Arkansas, I've heard good, land is easily available...and decent weather...but don't really know much else. LONG ago (when I was single and a ship-rider) I had planned on buying a lot w/ lakefront somewhere in Arkansas (possibly even just buy land w/ a nice small pond on it) and build a cabin right there by the pond, and in my off-time I'd hang out there in the forest w/ my, snoozing, shooting, whatever...still think that would be nice, but not sure that fit's Jeanine's idea of a nice retirement.

      Don't know anything about Charlotte, other than it's big enough to have an NFL football team (must be pretty big). I might have to reconsider Florida...sure it's FLAT FLAT FLAT, but for part of the year...IF I had a boat and maybe even ocean-access (the canals and such) to my house, I GUESS I could suffer thru 5 or 6 months of fishing/diving/etc in WARM weather and WARM water...(I'd just have to start eating a TON of garlic or whatever to keep the mosquitoes off me...they LOVE me!) and I don't really want to be in an area w/ a zillion gray-haired retirees driving land-yachts where every pedestrian/cyclist is in fear for his life! (I will NOT be one of those!) There's a LOT of FL that I know nothing about...worked with a girl LONG ago (in the Navy) who was from Clearwater...(I still have her dive-bag...she gave it to's got the local dive shop logo on it). That's on the gulf...which I should consider...but also, NOT a huge fan of risking your house every season for's bad enough out here w/ earthquake insurance...(which we have on our house). Can you even GET hurricane insurance? I have no idea.

      Also know ZERO about Columbia...will have to add all these places to THE LIST.

      Keep the ideas and info coming! We (I) ONLY have 8 more years, and I'm burning daylight here!

  6. Where was the mythical "Waltons Mountain" (from The Waltons TV show) supposedly at? (and where was the filming done for real?)

  7. Uhm....let's look at a small town called "Hot Springs, Arkansas" cursory glance looks NICE! (and guess what? It's SURROUNDED by HOT SPRINGS! I LIKE THAT!)

  8. The mythical Walton's Mt was not too far from Charlottesville, VA. Winter weather there is definitely worse than Richmond's but it is a very nice area. Also, the show was filmed in CA & was the only thing I didn't like about that show - the CA mountains look NOTHING like the Blue Ridge! I spent 16 summers in the Blue Ridge mts of VA at summer camp.

    If you want coastline area, what about Charleston, SC or Savannah, GA? Or Hilton Head, SC (or close by on the mainland which is supposed to be a lot cheaper as Hilton Head is pricey). The problem for me is that the land looks VERY flat & while there's tons of water, I'd worry about hurricanes.

    Well, I leave this afternoon for my dental implant surgical procedure. The previous implant 3 years ago on a lower tooth went very smooth, but its preceding tooth extraction was not as awful as this upper's. I've been nervous all week. I plan to be here tomorrow unless in a lot of pain but if it's like last time, I won't be able to talk or move my mouth/jaw for a few days. Wish me luck!

    1. oohhh...good luck on your implant...sounds uhm, not very fun. I've always said that instead of torture/waterboarding prisoners for info...just give them FREE dental work! They'd sing like birds!! "You WILL tell us what you know, or we will fix that next tooth mister!"

  9. Hey Matt - I'm here today & not in too much pain but I don't feel so good. I'm on antibiotics for a week (same as after the extraction), & I don't know if there is a connection, but I'm feeling nauseous, which did NOT happen last time. On Sunday, I start using this prescription mouth "rinse" which taste AWFUL but have to swish around for 30 seconds twice a day. I remember after the previous implant 3 years ago, that stuff was just disgusting! Had to take a quick drink of Diet Cherry 7-UP to try to lesson the aftertaste. Also, I'm a bit concerned because the next step (abutment) was supposed to take place in March but the Dr postponed it to May.

    Anyhoo - you're right about dental work being perfect treatment for terrorists!

    BTW, that article about Austin home prices may not be correct - just saw an article on Yahoo about great retirement locations & it list Austin AND states that its median home price was only $128,000. Plus, the cost of living is 6.8% cheaper than US avg. Charlottesville is on the list too but states a median house price over $230,000 or so & its cost of living is HIGHER than the US average. Basically, every time I see stats for "average" or median home prices in a certain area, it's always way too HIGH or way too LOW. The best way is to see for yourself or check real estate internet sites & look at the homes for the various locations.

    Another big college football weekend. I'll be rooting for "my" 2 teams - ND & Ohio State. YES, I want the Buckeyes to STOMP on Mich State! Not real sure that will actually happen but I'm hoping! And ND plays Ariz State - IF they win AND win out the rest of the way, there is a CHANCE they will get into the new Playoff. For OSU, well, Ebola would have to wipe out 5 or 6 teams AND another 4 would have to lose at least 1 more game & then they could possibly get in there. They are being severely penalized for losing to VA Tech at home in the 2nd game of the season (& the Hokies having a losing season so far). As for your team, Michigan, hey, they won a game last week! They play Northwestern tomorrow & that team is no longer the doormat of the Big 10 (WHY is it called that when it hasn't consisted of 10 teams in YEARS?!!), so Big Blue could lose (again, ahem). Then, they have a bye week & and THEN, they play my alma mater - MD! And hey, the Terps are already "bowl eligible"! So, watch out! At the very least, the Terps should LOOK great in that week's uniforms. It "pays" having a founder/CEO of a sports apparel company be a former football walk-on at your school. Yeah Under Armour!

    Alrighty, gotta run. Have a great weekend!

  10. Matt, I can not remember if I mentioned Gulf Shores in my other response. I have visited there and it is really nice although I think it is pretty expensive and you have the hurricane thing there. Maybe a place to always rent so when the hurricane rolls just go away!!
    I like your idea of just fun,fun,fun for retirement. I think I will work some brainless part time job here a little bit to keep my interest up. Like maybe at the local golf course to get a season pass, or there is a bike tour company that is always looking for people to lead their tours for kids and adults to putz around the lake trail on summer days. The guy I replaced in my job when he retired moved to Kerrville Texas. He likes it and says it has been pretty cheap to live there.

  11. ugh, 3rd try at this post!

    Gulf coast, no No NO! stifling heat and humidity in summer, I would rather hibernate here for 3 months in winter than put up with that in summer. Really, I can tolerate cold (until it gets below 10F) as long as the sun shines. Trouble is, here in Columbus the winters do tend to be overcast. But at least the cold isn't unrelenting -- we get warm ups sporadically through Jan and Feb although they typically only last a day or two.

    SusieB, I hope that you are feeling better now. Antibiotics for sure can make you nauseated, as well as the after effects of the sedation and the pain meds (codeine especially) About Atlanta, I will have to ask my brother cause I don't really remember -- he was there for nearly a year as a consultant for one of the large hospitals (computers) but I don't remember which one. I do think it was in town, though, not in a suburb, and he stayed nearby.

    My youngest brother lived in Asheville for a few years and loved it there. He says the winters were milder than here, although they got enough snow in the surrounding mountains to have ski resorts. This morning the temp there is the same as here: 34F.

    He also recently spent 2 years in Rocky Mount NC. Mild winters, but it is a small town just a bit too far from Raleigh (Hey how about Raleigh?) although close enough to the coast; also a bit of an issue with stereotypical southern small town attitudes (if you get my drift). They were kind of bored there.

    Would Hot Springs be outside the tornado belt? I thought of southern Missouri, which I saw a bit of when attending the Tour of Missouri a few years ago, and thought it looked nice -- saw a lot of unpaved (gravel) roads in the area the race went through, so I wonder if that means not bad winter (or just low government spending) -- but, those summer storms give me pause!

    I am looking at maybe 2 years to have a plan; one of my co-workers who is younger retired this year and moved to eastern TN; other co-workers (all of whom are a few years younger than I -- I am the oldest one in my dept. now!) are starting to talk about retirement too. With this big bull stock market -- I am wondering if I should take some $$ out and run -- I don't believe it will last, it reminds me of 1989 -- I just can't believe my 403b statement each month!

    I just looked at real estate for sale in my former neighborhood in Cardiff, CA. WOW! I sold my house for $275k in 1989 and felt I had done well having doubled my purchase price. Maybe I should have held on -- it seem there is nothing (except foreclosures) for much less than $1mil! How do average folks afford it?

    SusieB, just for your sake, I will care if the Bucks win today. Football Saturdays are always good days to get shopping done -- no crowds!