I actually have no family in texas, nor do I work there. I'm pretty much a happy wanderer who lives btwn. N. Ca., the greater houston area (katy + soon pasadena for a few wks. before heading back to bavaria) + germany--it's a long story I'll save you from. I recently purchased a home in the pasadena place subdivision that was great to me since it has a very serene atmosphere + quiet neighbors + interesting design + totally renovated. I actually like my pasadena home more than my home in katys williamsburg settlement for the fact that it seems to have some personality compared to the cookie-cutter look w.s. has. I wanted to see if I could find parallels in comments about pasadena about comments w/ what san jose, ca, e. palo alto, and all those other supposedly cruddy areas in N. Ca. that are now trendy places to be simply because the cities proximity to major hubs. As an alumna from Mount Holyoke College (it has no pull in texas or the west coast--but the ppl. who need to know about it do. It's emily dickinsons old alma mater and the historically first womans college), some papers in my first year english class focused on something that may have some play in opinions on pasadena and other "less desirable" areas. Students were writing about crimes that occur (of course mostly the ones that are able to be covered up--not like bludgeoning someone to death) in wealthy communities and their conviction rates. The conclusion was that the same stuff occurs in all income levels + races, the wealthier are just more hidden and have clout on the wrong doers side to cover up the crime. I also feel as if ppl. are apprehensive about living in areas w/ a high population of minorities + watched the n. california cities I mentioned above turn into productive communities w/ some wealth. Needless to say, the minorities are the majority now in Santa Clara county + other parts of the s. bay area of ca (just drove through there today--will be in texas in 2 days! yay!) and I see a correlation between hardworking immigrants who played a hand in converting their communities into trendy places to be even though they were once snubbed for living where they lived. I just thought pasadena is too close to the heart of downtown houston for it not to parallel what happened in n. ca. Perhaps there's no logic in comparing the two + of course I was hoping for validation in responses since i did buy a home there, but I'm totally open to having my opinion blown out of the water...who will be right in 15 years down the line? #$&! we're all dying of cancer these days. Even salad kills! I don't know what place is truly safe. Even the green, green germany I live in that sells ONLY food without pesticides occasionally has cases of mad cow disease...ok, I'm digressing. But since I enjoy this forum I'd like to put something out there that is random knowledge but may be of some help to someone--try checking out the Fort Riley area (n.e. kansas). The houses there have a much better return in rent than some areas. I purchased a 152k home in july, found a renter in 6 days and rent it out for 1500/mo. The ppl. are building like crazy there and active duty soldiers have a bit more of a reliability in rent factor than civilians + take into account that the housing waiting lists are long with the fact that there will be 20,000 additional troops added between now and 2010/2011 (and that's not even including dependents and the civ. workers that come along). OK, I'll stop now. Enjoy your day everybody, from what I've experienced in houston it's a nice place to be!