So we have been pre-approved for a home loan. Now we need to decide what area to live in around Fort Hood. Our first instinct was Harker Heights or Copperas Cove. But as we have thought more about it, we have realized that the only reason we want to be in those areas is so Jerry won’t have far to travel to Fort Hood everyday. However, Jerry will be retiring in 3 or so years. So we had to rethink this. We have started making a list of what we want out of the area we live in.
Some of the other things we need to consider are career opportunities for after he retires, as well as job opportunities for myself. I am a professional photographer and need to make sure that we live somewhere that has great areas for photo sessions or at least are within driving distance, as well as plenty of area within our home (I have a home studio for indoor sessions). Jerry on the other hand is currently a volunteer firefighter, however, after the Army he plans on opening his own hot rod shop where he can work out of our garage part-time while also having a full-time job as a Fire Fighter. So we obviously do not want to be right in the city which would more than likely have restrictions on things like that. He is currently in college trying to obtain a Masters in Fire Science. He does plan on becoming a full-time fire fighter after the Army with hopes of working his way up to an Arson Investigator, so we need to be in an area that has that kind of position or at least within 30 miles. And because we do have a race car we would like to be somewhat close to a track (hauling a 20ft enclosed car hauler with race car and mini garage inside can be pain). Thankfully there is one in Killeen, so as long as we stay in our 30 mile radius of Fort Hood we should be good on all aspects!
Something else to consider is the taxes within certain areas. Some areas have higher property taxes than others. Usually big cities will have higher property taxes than suburbs, although some suburbs will have really high taxes. I do know that one thing we will consider is if the home is within a homeowners association. We will NOT buy a house that is part of a homeowners association. Sorry, but I don’t need an “association” telling me what I can and cannot do with my home (remember the guy that was told by his homeowners association he couldn’t fly the American flag unless it was during a federal holiday).
So what kind of area do we want to live in? City (urban), Suburbs, a small town, or in a rural area outside of city limits? We have ruled out large cities. Most suburbs of those big cities have subdivisions that have homeowners associations, so I can probably count those out. I am thinking our best bet would be a small city. It would leave us close enough (within 30 miles) of a city, but far enough out that we can find a home with the space and yard area we want without having too many restrictions. Plus, I grew up in the small town of Lake Dallas, Texas. OK, so it’s not small anymore and technically I grew up in a small town and the suburbs (parents divorced at an early age, I spent every other weekend, spring breaks, holidays, and the summer in Lake Dallas and the rest of the time in Farmers Branch). However, when I was growing up, Lake Dallas was small. Everyone knew everyone else. No one locked their doors, hell there wasn’t even a stop light in town. Also, as you can tell from the name, the city backed up to a lake.
So for anyone else looking to buy a home, here are what you need to consider:
- What type of area do you want to live in? Rural (city), Suburbs, Small Town, or Rural (out in the country)
- Career Opportunities (what kind of jobs are around that area, or are you ok driving 30 miles for a job)
- Taxes within the area (what are the property taxes like, is there a city tax, etc…)
- Are there things to do nearby (shopping, recreation, etc…)
- If you have children, what kind of activities are there for children in the area, such as the rec dept.
Your best source of information about your new area will be the city website, installation website, and chamber of commerce. So check those well in advance to help you in your decision-making process. Also, put a shout out on local Facebook pages. Get advice from those who are already living there.
So our wish list currently (as far as deciding on an area) is:
- Within 30 miles of a large city (not necessarily a large metropolitan area, but a larger city in general)
- Somewhat near a racetrack
- No homeowners association
- Potential for job opportunities (or at least within 30 miles of such)
- Lower end on taxes
- Good Schools
- Community Activities (I always loved those small town parades and the fact that everyone knew everyone else).
As for the house itself:
- 4+ bedrooms
- Area for a home studio
- Enough yard space to build a detached “shop” (for hubby’s garage) and possibly a swimming pool
- 2 car garage
- 2500+ square feet
- Room to park our 20ft enclosed car hauler (and room for a boat, because this girl LOVES water)
- A roomy kitchen
- Nice entertaining area inside and out