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Old 03-06-2012, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Dallas
18 posts, read 26,750 times
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Just moved back to Dallas from Finland(grew up in Austin,TX). Anyway looking for a home in a nice neighborhood.Park cities,Lakewood,Preston Hollow,etc are the areas I've heard are nice.Budget is $675-$750,000 cash(debt free thanks to Dave Ramsey!)We also have 3 sons,6,12and 17(so private school might be out of the question) .We are looking for diversity and good local church(Methodist). Also what do you think of the Lake Highlands area? Thanks
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:38 AM
 
Location: Dallas
578 posts, read 1,210,777 times
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You should have no trouble finding a nice home in Lake Highlands or Lakewood with that budget; both are diverse areas of Dallas. LH has certain areas zoned to RISD which is a phenomenal school district. LH and all of Lakewood can also be DISD (I will let others chime in on DISD...but they have many top-rated magnet schools and an IB high school). People in both areas are very proud of their neighborhood.

In the Park Cities you can find a duplex home, an older home with limited s.f. that has never been updated, or a condo in that price range. It is not a diverse area, but I always encounter people like me so I don't feel like I am an oddity. My kids have found friends who are white, chinese, indian, and african american.

I am not familiar with Preston Hollow. People seem to complain about the schools in that area and most people there do private. It is also a very affluent area so I do not know how far your budget will take you.

There are a LOT of methodist churches in DFW. I noticed the minute we moved here. You will find a nice methodist congregation in any of those locations.

We found that paying cash did not guarantee a substantial discount in the Park Cities...not sure how other markets are in this regard. But congrats on living debt-free..you are my husband's kind of guy (or gal!)

Good luck as you settle back in.
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Old 03-07-2012, 06:11 AM
 
11,672 posts, read 21,240,989 times
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Welcome! You have definitely zeroed in on some great in-town neighborhoods & places to live and raise a family in Dallas!

1. Park Cities- you are pretty close to "priced out" with a sub $750k budget, especially if you are looking for a 4-br home. There are only 13 single family homes (ie, 1 home on a lot with a yard) on the market in the entire HPISD in your price range, and 80% of those listings are on busy, major streets. The good ones in that range (we are looking in the sub $850k range right now) are selling within a week and many in multiple offer situations. The Park Cities market is HOT again this spring after several slow years. Cash buyers are common- we have good friends trying to pay $1.5M or less and they have lost out on several HPISD homes since Christmas.
If you are open to a single family attached (like a duplex, but shares a firewall so less noise travels between units, and extremely small yards/courtyards), that opens up a few more listings and newer construction/ bigger homes.
The Park Cities has some of the lowest property taxes around and best homestead deductionsmtomlower your taxable value. Homes are taxed at 80% of their tax appraised value and property taxes are around 2%. Basically, a $500k range DISD carries the same tax bill as a $700k HPISD home (~ $12k annually) due to exemptions and lower tax rates.
HPISD schools are top-notch though (pretty much only comparable to Austin Westlake in the whole state) so if you can hunt & find something, that would be great!

Highland Park Methodist and University Park Methodist are both within HPISD and are great churches with tons of active members and programs for kids and adults.

2. Lake Highlands- great neighborhood. Close to White Rock Lake and has lots of park space along the creeks. Much more economic and racial diversity than HPISD. Schools are good. Top 15% of area schools based in academics- not the top, but solid. You definitely don't have to - and shouldn't - spend $750k there. Majority of homes area are under $500k and I'd recommend staying under $500k, too. To me, LH's big drawback is that it lacks retail/ commercial when compared to the other areas on your list. A huge "town center" development is planned (the land has been c,eared), but it is on hold "indefinitely" due to the economy.

3. Lakewood is a beautiful, historic, charming neighborhood on the west banks of White Rock Lake. Great neighborhood. Schools are controversial- those who support them are steadfast, but a big chunk of the neighborhood goes private. Lakewood itself is close to lily white (similar to HP in that regard), but the schools draw from a larger geographic area and are something close to 75% Hispanic & 80% lower income come middle school. The middle and high school are in their first years of offering the rigorous IB program. I would recommend you come and visit all schools yourself since your kids cover middle & high school ages. Your budget is good for Lakewood but be prepared to move quickly because the spring market is hot there, too.

4. Preston Hollow -again, another beautiful neighborhood. Big drawback is that the majority of kids go private which tajes away from the "community" feelings of HPISD, LH, and LW. Your budget is good for a remodeled 1950's ranch style home with up to 4 bedrooms and a 1/3 acre lot. You'd find the biggest lot sizes here of the four areas.
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Old 03-07-2012, 06:15 AM
 
Location: Willowbend/Houston
13,403 posts, read 20,288,060 times
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Welcome to Dallas!

What part of Finland are you coming from? I travel to Oulu about three times a year for work. Love it there!
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Dallas
18 posts, read 26,750 times
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Sorry I'm not finished with my city data profile. I just move from Joensuu(University of Eastsern Finland)I'm now at UTD. With a combo income of about $230,000 a year. I would like to here more about Lakewood/Lake highlands. Also does anyone know anything about Greenhill school?
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Dallas
115 posts, read 180,558 times
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The Greenhill school is a Top tier private school in Addison (right next to North Dallas). My daughter's boyfriend has been there for most of his schooling (now a Junior), and he loves it. It seems geared to the "independant learner" in that a variety of different classes are offered in style similar to the college experience. He is fluent in Mandarin, (learned solely at Greenhill) and has traveled to China with the school. The school seems to encourage intellectual curiosity, and I thought it was cool that he was able to petition the teacher to 'sit in' on a senior level seminar.

We live in Lakewood proper, and love it. A great community feel, close to downtown Dallas and so many restaurants and amenities. I love being so close to the lake. It helps me get my 'water fix' that I miss having after living on the east coast my whole life.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:45 PM
 
2,982 posts, read 8,178,925 times
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Greenland Hills United Methodist Church is very diverse. It's located in the M Streets area which is near Lakewood.
Regarding your boys, do they have special interests? There may be some schools that would be better suited to their interests.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:45 PM
 
Location: Dallas
18 posts, read 26,750 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by pepper131 View Post
Greenland Hills United Methodist Church is very diverse. It's located in the M Streets area which is near Lakewood.
Regarding your boys, do they have special interests? There may be some schools that would be better suited to their interests.
We are looking for small class size, diverse student/teacher population, small town fill(everyone knows everyone)and walk ability . Lakewood/ Lake highlands looks like the place for us.
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:03 AM
 
11,672 posts, read 21,240,989 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New to Dallas2 View Post
We are looking for small class size, diverse student/teacher population, small town fill(everyone knows everyone)and walk ability . Lakewood/ Lake highlands looks like the place for us.
I'm not sure what you consider "small" class size, but the max students per class in grades 6-12 in TX is 35 and due to current budget cuts/constraints, you will the most public schools approaching that number.

LH is not "walk able" - its certainly safe to go for a walk there, but unless you're willing to walk a mile to the grocery store, it's not a dense neighborhood where most people live close to retail/ commercial.

Lakewood has some walk able "pockets" concentrated near Gaston & Abrams and Mockkngbird & Abrams, but many homes are a twenty minute or more walk to the closest retail/ cmmerial, especially the streets closer to the lake. You certainly CAN find a walkable home there, but your realtor will need to design ir search around that criteria.

On the whole, I would not consider Dallas' in-town neighborhoods to be as walk able r sense as Austin's.
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Dallas
18 posts, read 26,750 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtleCreek80 View Post
I'm not sure what you consider "small" class size, but the max students per class in grades 6-12 in TX is 35 and due to current budget cuts/constraints, you will the most public schools approaching that number.

LH is not "walk able" - its certainly safe to go for a walk there, but unless you're willing to walk a mile to the grocery store, it's not a dense neighborhood where most people live close to retail/ commercial.

Lakewood has some walk able "pockets" concentrated near Gaston & Abrams and Mockkngbird & Abrams, but many homes are a twenty minute or more walk to the closest retail/ cmmerial, especially the streets closer to the lake. You certainly CAN find a walkable home there, but your realtor will need to design ir search around that criteria.

On the whole, I would not consider Dallas' in-town neighborhoods to be as walk able r sense as Austin's.
Thanks TurtleCreek80,I think we might just save a little more and look at HP/UP in a few.My only problem is with the lack of diversity.Does anyone send their kids to private schools in the Park Cities? Greenhill? St. Alcuin?
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