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Old 02-24-2012, 02:44 PM
 
17 posts, read 18,387 times
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how are the schools in these areas? that will be a big concern.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:50 PM
 
Location: North Texas
2,487 posts, read 5,989,555 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neko44 View Post
how are the schools in these areas? that will be a big concern.

GISD school district is good- they have good IB programs. I have had no complaints.

Garland Independent School District
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Southlake. Don't judge me.
2,885 posts, read 4,068,583 times
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Another Chicagoan here, we're still trying to sell our house up NW, but I have a few friends who live(d) in Plainfield and thereabouts. Most DFW suburbs are somewhat similar - lots of new(er) construction here.

I don't know the property taxes in Plainfield offhand (wait, I see you're saying ~6K on a roughly 250K house), but the effective rates here are generally slightly over 2 to 2.5% of FMV (which is similar to Cook County rates, albeit here it's a much more straightforward calc). Property tax calcs here consist of 3 parts - a rate for the city/town you live in, a rate for the county, and a rate for the "Independent School District" ("ISD"). All ISD's have at least a 15K "homeowner's exemption". Note that the school district boundaries are not the same as town/city boundaries (hence "independent" school district). For example, the "Dallas" school district includes some schools in neighboring 'burbs (Addison is the one that I definitely now). The Keller ISD includes most of Keller but also bits of suburbs around there, and so on.

As noted, there are no basements here. I'm assuming your place in Plainfield had one, so even with the same "square footage" you'd be downsizing a bit.

A 250K house with less than 20% down on 80K income and two kids is going to be a but tough. Not saying you can't do it, but I don't know what other expectations you have for other spending. That's a "Living Below Your Means" discussion which really doesn't fit on this board - just be aware of a few differences when you budget for here as opposed to IL.

Although there is no state income tax which helps in that regard, sales taxes are not low (~8 to 8.5% here, lower than Cook county but may be slightly higher than Plainfield), there are more toll roads and they are considerably more expensive than in IL (I know rates there were recently increased to slightly under 6 cents/mile, here they are 15.3 cents/mile, so there you go), and my experience has been that groceries in general are pricier than in the Chicago area. Utilities can be expensive, especially in the summer when you have to run the AC much of the time. As for "older homes with charm"....sadly, as noted, much of Dallas is newer construction, so it's a LOT more like Plainfield than like Park Ridge, for example. Richardson may have some older homes.

Also, note that lots here are SMALL. That 2800 sq ft house is likely on a lot of 0.2 acre or less. Frisco in particular is notable for "zero lot line" houses.

Dallas is far more car culture than Chicago. Public transportation is not nearly as well developed. Again, this may not be an issue if you're used to Plainfield, but you're likely driving everywhere. They don't have winter salt on the roads to deal with, so your car can last longer, but expect to put on more miles. Gas is cheaper by ~50 cents/gallon, usually, but again, longer distances to drive.

For schools - I've posted a link before to a breakout of Dallas school district SAT and ACT averages by district; you should be able to find it via google pretty quick. Plano is one of the very best districts in the area overall (Highland Park is the best but it's WAY out of your price range, think Lake Forest or...well, Highland Park ).

There are lots of subtle differences between Dallas and Chicago that you'll have to adjust to. Some things you may really like, others notsomuch. I'm a reluctant transplant to the Metroplex and am still getting used to it.

Last, if at all possible, I would HIGHLY recommend A) getting in touch with a good realtor, 2) make a list of your preferred house attributes and checking listings online at realtor.com or a similar site to start getting some ideas on what things costs here, iii) when you do come down, if at all possible rent for at least a few months while researching areas and learning the lay of the land.

Good luck! As already noted, there are a LOT of Chicago area transplants on this board.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
4,185 posts, read 14,036,649 times
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You will hear a lot of different opinions about schools on here. All the schools are good in the areas you are considering especially elementary schools. You can get the opinion of actual parents on greatschools.org.

Rowlett doesn't have its own district. It uses Garland ISD. This is a plus because Garland has a choice of schools so your children don't have to attend the closest school. A very small portion of Rowlett is zoned to Rockwall schools too.

Are you confused enough yet?

Naima
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:38 PM
 
Location: North Texas
24,571 posts, read 35,538,296 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neko44 View Post
I appreciate the many points of view on this topic.

Is there a particular area in Richardson you would recommend?
With your budget, look in 75080: Heights Park neighborhood, The Reservation, Canyon Creek, Waterview.

Debsi is right about house ages...the further north you go, the newer they are. My neighborhood (Heights Park) was built in the 1950s.

Also, my lot size is .25 acres. Not a zero lot line. There are no mandatory HOAs in any of the neighborhoods I listed. Voluntary neighborhood associations, yes. Mandatory HOAs, no.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:16 PM
 
17 posts, read 18,387 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDGeek View Post
With your budget, look in 75080: Heights Park neighborhood, The Reservation, Canyon Creek, Waterview.

Debsi is right about house ages...the further north you go, the newer they are. My neighborhood (Heights Park) was built in the 1950s.

Also, my lot size is .25 acres. Not a zero lot line. There are no mandatory HOAs in any of the neighborhoods I listed. Voluntary neighborhood associations, yes. Mandatory HOAs, no.
In an HOA now and can do with out it. Thanks for the feedback
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:21 PM
 
17 posts, read 18,387 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synchronicity View Post
Another Chicagoan here, we're still trying to sell our house up NW, but I have a few friends who live(d) in Plainfield and thereabouts. Most DFW suburbs are somewhat similar - lots of new(er) construction here.

I don't know the property taxes in Plainfield offhand (wait, I see you're saying ~6K on a roughly 250K house), but the effective rates here are generally slightly over 2 to 2.5% of FMV (which is similar to Cook County rates, albeit here it's a much more straightforward calc). Property tax calcs here consist of 3 parts - a rate for the city/town you live in, a rate for the county, and a rate for the "Independent School District" ("ISD"). All ISD's have at least a 15K "homeowner's exemption". Note that the school district boundaries are not the same as town/city boundaries (hence "independent" school district). For example, the "Dallas" school district includes some schools in neighboring 'burbs (Addison is the one that I definitely now). The Keller ISD includes most of Keller but also bits of suburbs around there, and so on.

As noted, there are no basements here. I'm assuming your place in Plainfield had one, so even with the same "square footage" you'd be downsizing a bit.

A 250K house with less than 20% down on 80K income and two kids is going to be a but tough. Not saying you can't do it, but I don't know what other expectations you have for other spending. That's a "Living Below Your Means" discussion which really doesn't fit on this board - just be aware of a few differences when you budget for here as opposed to IL.

Although there is no state income tax which helps in that regard, sales taxes are not low (~8 to 8.5% here, lower than Cook county but may be slightly higher than Plainfield), there are more toll roads and they are considerably more expensive than in IL (I know rates there were recently increased to slightly under 6 cents/mile, here they are 15.3 cents/mile, so there you go), and my experience has been that groceries in general are pricier than in the Chicago area. Utilities can be expensive, especially in the summer when you have to run the AC much of the time. As for "older homes with charm"....sadly, as noted, much of Dallas is newer construction, so it's a LOT more like Plainfield than like Park Ridge, for example. Richardson may have some older homes.

Also, note that lots here are SMALL. That 2800 sq ft house is likely on a lot of 0.2 acre or less. Frisco in particular is notable for "zero lot line" houses.

Dallas is far more car culture than Chicago. Public transportation is not nearly as well developed. Again, this may not be an issue if you're used to Plainfield, but you're likely driving everywhere. They don't have winter salt on the roads to deal with, so your car can last longer, but expect to put on more miles. Gas is cheaper by ~50 cents/gallon, usually, but again, longer distances to drive.

For schools - I've posted a link before to a breakout of Dallas school district SAT and ACT averages by district; you should be able to find it via google pretty quick. Plano is one of the very best districts in the area overall (Highland Park is the best but it's WAY out of your price range, think Lake Forest or...well, Highland Park ).

There are lots of subtle differences between Dallas and Chicago that you'll have to adjust to. Some things you may really like, others notsomuch. I'm a reluctant transplant to the Metroplex and am still getting used to it.

Last, if at all possible, I would HIGHLY recommend A) getting in touch with a good realtor, 2) make a list of your preferred house attributes and checking listings online at realtor.com or a similar site to start getting some ideas on what things costs here, iii) when you do come down, if at all possible rent for at least a few months while researching areas and learning the lay of the land.

Good luck! As already noted, there are a LOT of Chicago area transplants on this board.
Great to hear from other Chicagoans on here, there really seems to be a lot on these boards. I appreciate all the info, it really gives us something to think about. Its good to have comparison that I am used to.

A couple things that are diehearting are no basements and tiny lots..why is that?
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:30 PM
 
17 posts, read 18,387 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by nsumner View Post
You will hear a lot of different opinions about schools on here. All the schools are good in the areas you are considering especially elementary schools. You can get the opinion of actual parents on greatschools.org.

Rowlett doesn't have its own district. It uses Garland ISD. This is a plus because Garland has a choice of schools so your children don't have to attend the closest school. A very small portion of Rowlett is zoned to Rockwall schools too.

Are you confused enough yet?

Naima
Yes, starting to get confused. Not a whole lot of negatives being discussed which can be a good thing....
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:36 PM
 
Location: plano
7,447 posts, read 9,185,876 times
Reputation: 7117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neko44 View Post
Great to hear from other Chicagoans on here, there really seems to be a lot on these boards. I appreciate all the info, it really gives us something to think about. Its good to have comparison that I am used to.

A couple things that are diehearting are no basements and tiny lots..why is that?
I believe it is market demand and hot hot summer in part giving us smaller lots. Zoning in the NE keeps property values high by restricting new build opportunities and a tool to do that is zone to large lots. Its great for those living there already but makes homes less affordable for new buyers. DFW cities zone things too but affordability and growth are generally viewed more important and positively by Texans than was my experience back NE. I know less about Chicago than the NE from living back NE.
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:18 PM
 
207 posts, read 459,630 times
Reputation: 148
I do believe Waterview in Rowlett has a mandatory HOA fee, correct? We leased a home in there and the homeowner wasn't paying the HOA and they were about to put a lien on the home. From what I remember it was around $550 a year. The 2 elementary schools that are literally 30 seconds from Waterview are exemplary.
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