The Yearly Move in Austin

Gentrification. It’s a dirty word that stirs a lot of emotions and controversy. On one end, who wants trashy run down and sketchy neighborhoods? Replacing these eyesore neighborhoods with new development feels like progress being made.

On the other end, the often generic buildings going up can be an eyesore in itself. Honestly, I have no problem with new development, as long as it brings prosperity to everyone. Sadly, this is not the case, especially in Austin. Rent prices are skyrocketing and the only real way to keep them down is to move every time your lease renews.

When I lived in Marshfield, I lived at the same apartment for three and a half years. When I’d renew I’d get an almost apologetic letter that my rent had to increase $5 a month. That works out to $60 a year.

In Austin, they’ll look to raise your rent $60 a month upon renewal. It’s nothing to see 5-10% increases depending on where you live. When they give you your renewal you don’t get an apologetic letter like you did in Marshfield. They give you a letter taunting you on how much of a pain it is to move and how much it costs to move. Basically, they want you to think you’re stuck with them and moving is the worse option.

I will admit, moving is an absolute pain. Between physically packing the stuff, moving it, and unpacking it, it takes a lot of time and effort. Then comes changing your address and getting everything updated. The reality is, the apartment companies are usually full of it. You can save a substantial amount of money by moving every year. It’s just dealing with the BS of moving.

Victoria and I lived by The Domain. I’ll eventually do a blog entry on The Domain, but it is home to Culinary Dropout. You know that expensive place where you pay $35-40 for a wannabe Big Mac and a Keystone Light.

When I said we lived *by* The Domain, lived about half a mile north of it. Gentrification spreads like a virus. Now all the apartments around our old apartment are trying to claim they’re in The Domain. They’re really not, but the way rent is increasing, you wouldn’t think otherwise.

I’ll admit, the place we lived was nice. It had a nice view and the apartment management was better than any other place I lived at in Austin. There were a few issues with things like parking, but overall I enjoyed living there.

Around that area, the gentrification virus is spreading rapidly. There’s cranes in the air and a skyline is forming. Congestion is getting worse and the infrastructure is stretched to the max. A rent increase just added more insult to injury. When Victoria and I received the rent increase, we decided to move.

We were able to move to an apartment complex that was cheaper than what we were currently paying. This apartment complex is only 7 miles away. When you factored in the rent increase, we’d be saving somewhere around $200 a month. That’s $2400 a year! Moving costs a heck of a lot less than that and the hassle is worth it.

We had about a 3-4 week overlap in both apartments. I started moving the small stuff slowly in suitcases. I’d take 2 suitcases to the apartment and then work on the blog.

We eventually chose a weekend to rent a moving truck and haul the big stuff. We had the help from a few people (thanks to all those who helped).

After we got everything moved, we cleaned the old apartment. This process was completely exhausting! We then handed in the keys. I took a few pictures to remember the place and will remember the view we had.

The new view isn’t quite as good, but it is starting to green up.

The one thing that is better is the garage. The old garage was small. This garage has a lot more room and I have started to build a garage office there.

I guess this is the reality of Austin. When it comes to gentrification, I’m in the middle. I don’t want the super expensive manufactured hipster experience. A place like Culinary Dropout is the one side of gentrification I don’t want.

As I mentioned in my Culinary Dropout blog entry, I also don’t want the “authentic” experience. I don’t want to live in a run down neighborhood with bums and the riff raff that comes with that. I really want something in the middle.

My last apartment was that something in the middle. It is now being invaded by the hipster side of gentrification. Anywhere else cheaper will be invaded by bums. I think I found a good balance where I currently live.

Next year’s renewal notice should be interesting to see what they come up. If they taunt me with a huge increase, I’ll probably have to move again. Then again, maybe I’m far enough out for the time being that the hipster gentrification is a few years off. I don’t see cranes or a skyline forming yet. For the time being, I’ll enjoy my new garage office and everything this area has to offer.

To see more of my adventures, click on the map! Or if you prefer to see a list of more blog entries, click here.

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