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Old 10-21-2012, 08:18 AM
 
11 posts, read 23,526 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi everyone,
Our family will be relocating next summer to Texas from southern CA (from the east coast originally) With that said we're not sure which area would better suit our needs and wants.
First we were set on the North Dallas suburbs but recently we've been considering Austin. Heard the weather is more timid, landscape is prettier but it costs more to live.
We are a family of four (two kids 3 and 6 months) and more to come in a couple of years
I want to have everything we can't have here in So Cal
Large house 2500 sq ft (2 car garage,driveway (yes they are hard to come by here), large kitchen, yard.) I want a custom home and hopefully can have most of what I want here without having our neighbors house 10 feet away.
Education is VERY important to us. We've always wanted to send our kids to private schools but it's too costly here. Public schools are fine as long as they are great!
Family friendly neighborhoods and people
Close to grocery stores, dept stores, pet stores,restaurants
Parks, kid friendly activities (zoo,aquarium,train park etc...) running trails,lakes,golf

The downfalls I've read about Texas are:
High property taxes
Utility costs
Houses tend to be too large = big a/c or heating bills
I think that's about it.

We currently live in Orange County Ca and if anyone is familiar they know it's one of the most expensive counties in Ca. Gas is $4.65 gallon, buying a home is next to impossible below $500,000 even in the down market, taxes are high, car registration for two cars is $600 per yr, groceries (no place doubles or triples coupons)Everything is expensive. We are renting an older 1400 sq ft townhome with 3 bedrooms 2.5 baths 2 car garage and small patio for $2100.

I think we'll find most of the expenses in Texas are less except utility bills. Water and trash bills seem to be quite a bit more. We pay $30 per qtr for trash and recycling. It seems like that is the normal monthly bill in Tx. Is that correct? And we pay about $25 a month in water. That's with four of us showering daily and 4-5 loads of laundry per week. Granted we have no lawn to water but I've read some people pay $100 a month for water....

The areas we are looking at in Austin are Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Round Rock. The areas in Dallas are Plano,Frisco,McKinney, Allen.

I've tried to do as much reading online about Tx and both Cities but it's so hard when we don't know anyone there.

As far as employment goes, my husband will be retiring as a Gunnery Sgt from the Marines and will be transitioning into a law enforcement career and I will be looking for work in either the corporate apparel or home industry. I know Dallas is home to the Market Center and Jcpenneys HQ in Plano. Are ther any others that i'm missing? Are there any corp apparel, home or acessory offices in Austin? Do they pay more in one city vs th other?

Thanks so much!
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:57 AM
 
1,229 posts, read 2,117,837 times
Reputation: 717
I would choose Dallas suburbs over Austin suburbs....Suggestions for Dallas suburbs from most expensive to least .....

If your budget will be over $240,000, my number one suggestion for you would be Prosper.

Under $240,000, Allen or Stonebridge Ranch in Mc Kinney

Under $200,000, Frisco ( smaller lot size,low property taxes )

Allen is further from the Tollway area & Preston Rd...


You and your family will love living in North Texas !
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:47 AM
 
Location: North Texas
23,970 posts, read 32,674,900 times
Reputation: 27468
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeidiBruno View Post
Hi everyone,
Our family will be relocating next summer to Texas from southern CA (from the east coast originally) With that said we're not sure which area would better suit our needs and wants.
First we were set on the North Dallas suburbs but recently we've been considering Austin. Heard the weather is more timid, landscape is prettier but it costs more to live.
We are a family of four (two kids 3 and 6 months) and more to come in a couple of years
I want to have everything we can't have here in So Cal
Large house 2500 sq ft (2 car garage,driveway (yes they are hard to come by here), large kitchen, yard.) I want a custom home and hopefully can have most of what I want here without having our neighbors house 10 feet away.
Education is VERY important to us. We've always wanted to send our kids to private schools but it's too costly here. Public schools are fine as long as they are great!
Family friendly neighborhoods and people
Close to grocery stores, dept stores, pet stores,restaurants
Parks, kid friendly activities (zoo,aquarium,train park etc...) running trails,lakes,golf

The downfalls I've read about Texas are:
High property taxes
Utility costs
Houses tend to be too large = big a/c or heating bills
I think that's about it.

We currently live in Orange County Ca and if anyone is familiar they know it's one of the most expensive counties in Ca. Gas is $4.65 gallon, buying a home is next to impossible below $500,000 even in the down market, taxes are high, car registration for two cars is $600 per yr, groceries (no place doubles or triples coupons)Everything is expensive. We are renting an older 1400 sq ft townhome with 3 bedrooms 2.5 baths 2 car garage and small patio for $2100.

I think we'll find most of the expenses in Texas are less except utility bills. Water and trash bills seem to be quite a bit more. We pay $30 per qtr for trash and recycling. It seems like that is the normal monthly bill in Tx. Is that correct? And we pay about $25 a month in water. That's with four of us showering daily and 4-5 loads of laundry per week. Granted we have no lawn to water but I've read some people pay $100 a month for water....

The areas we are looking at in Austin are Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Round Rock. The areas in Dallas are Plano,Frisco,McKinney, Allen.

I've tried to do as much reading online about Tx and both Cities but it's so hard when we don't know anyone there.

As far as employment goes, my husband will be retiring as a Gunnery Sgt from the Marines and will be transitioning into a law enforcement career and I will be looking for work in either the corporate apparel or home industry. I know Dallas is home to the Market Center and Jcpenneys HQ in Plano. Are ther any others that i'm missing? Are there any corp apparel, home or acessory offices in Austin? Do they pay more in one city vs th other?

Thanks so much!

The best activities in the DFW area are generally in Dallas itself. If you live in the very far northern suburbs, you will find it's quite a hike to Dallas's zoo or the aquarium downtown. There are kid-friendly activities north of Dallas but they're the type who tend to nickle and dime you to death (arcades, bowling allies, "family fun centers", etc.)

Schools are actually pretty mediocre in a lot of the northern suburbs. TC80 can tell you all about that. The schools in Frisco especially are nothing to write home about, and Allen's single mega-high school strategy turns off a lot of people.

You'll find that utilities here are pretty high. Prepare to be shocked by your water bills. It's impossible for anyone here to estimate how high your electric bill would be because there are so many variables that go into one including price per kwh, your own personal usage, the efficiency of the house you live in, square footage, etc. Plan on them being in the $50-$200 range in winter and $200-$600 range in summer. That's per month, not per quarter. You may squeak by on the lower end of that range in winter if you have a house with gas heating and hot water, but most newer construction in your price range won't have that. Gas service in new subdivisions seems to be a 'luxury' item and your budget won't allow you to buy into those luxury areas (neither law enforcement or apparel are high-paid jobs here, relatively-speaking). They can be quite expensive. The houses are also on very small lots and your neighbors won't be 10 feet away, but they won't be much further away than that. A lot of those plots are in the .10 to .18 acre range which is pretty small. If you want a big house with a lot of square footage you can certainly have that cheaply here, but the house won't be luxurious and it'll be in a lower middle to middle class area with so-so schools. They may have a 'recognized' or 'exemplary' rating on paper but trust me, they're often only so-so. Oh, and if you buy a house here, you will have a lawn. It can be hard to keep that lawn green if we go into drought-required watering restrictions, but your HOA won't care. If you don't want to be pushing a mower in 100F heat in summer, plan to pay a service about $35-$60 a month (depends on a lot of things) to someone to keep your lawn neat and tidy. The big-name companies will charge more.

A lot of people move here from California; sometimes it seems like half the state is from CA originally. They come here expecting everything to be huge, cheap, and awesome...and they are frequently disappointed in one or more of those categories. They complain that it's not as cheap as they thought it would be, or they're unhappy with how far away from Dallas they have to go to get that huge house with the granite and travertine and the school full of white kids, so they are saddled with a commute from hell. Gas is cheaper here, but salaries are also lower. I paid $3.29 a gallon to fill up yesterday but I've seen gas here higher than that. I spent a lot of my adult life living in Europe, so even California's $4.65/gallon prices don't seem all that high to me. When I left Europe, I was paying between $7.50 and $10/gallon depending on what country I was in. Property taxes here are high because there is no state income tax here. That's another frequent complaint from transplants...their property taxes are much higher than they thought they would be. In your price range with a homestead exemption you can probably count on $5-$6k a year. Others will definitely correct me if I'm wrong! How much your taxes are depends on what county/city you live in as well as the school district.

I'm not trying to discourage you, I just want you to be realistic. This isn't the land of milk and honey here. Sure, we're better off than a lot of places in the U.S. but remember, wages here are also low relative to the rest of the country and there's hardly any social safety net if you get into trouble. It's also hotter than hell in summer, brown and ugly in winter, and the DFW metro area is a sprawling expanse of concrete and some pretty hideous areas with some equally hideous traffic. One of the most frequent complaints I hear from Californian transplants is that they hate the weather. They also don't like the landscape. Dallas is flat and hot, period. Austin is much prettier but it has not handled its explosive growth very well, so the traffic there is even worse; cost of living is higher; wages are a bit better but you still pay a premium to live there; and everywhere you go, you'll be waiting in line for it.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Wylie, Texas
1,680 posts, read 2,457,124 times
Reputation: 2691
Moderator cut: see comment

The first thing I would say is that either you or your husband needs to nail down the job first before buying a house. DFW is VERY spread out, and your life will be miserable if you buy a house in Prosper but end up working in Mansfield. When a job is located, then get back to us and we can give you the most suitable locations to look to buy a house. Many would suggest you rent for a year before buying, and that would be the best way to go, but I understand many not wanting to make two moves. Depending on your taste, you really dont have to spend anywhere near $500K and still get a very nice home in a great area. To give you some perspective, my brother owns a 2,500 square foot home in Wylie (decent suburb with good schools, low crime) that comes with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bath, a large backyard, yet his mortgage is under $1500 a month. There are other areas that are more expensive/prestigious, and come with even larger homes that are still well under $500K, and they are spread all over the metroplex. Lets just say Prosper is just one of many areas to consider. Dont feel trapped to that one area. Either way best of luck to you.

Last edited by BstYet2Be; 10-21-2012 at 11:25 PM.. Reason: Personal attacks are not permitted - See DM
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,813 posts, read 55,762,637 times
Reputation: 18988
I just moved to a small city north of Dallas. For one week, my first water bill was $80 and I am the only person here! I did not run my sprinklers excessively so I am checking for water leaks. Even the folks at the water dept. (very friendly) said they thought tha was high. My next bill, which is for a full month, will be $97. I came from Salt Lake City, which is high desert country, and my water bill was usually about $50 in the summer.
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:05 PM
 
1,282 posts, read 3,060,179 times
Reputation: 1062
Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernBelleInUtah View Post
I just moved to a small city north of Dallas. For one week, my first water bill was $80 and I am the only person here! I did not run my sprinklers excessively so I am checking for water leaks. Even the folks at the water dept. (very friendly) said they thought tha was high. My next bill, which is for a full month, will be $97. I came from Salt Lake City, which is high desert country, and my water bill was usually about $50 in the summer.
You back here now, SBinU? Where did you end up moving too?
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,813 posts, read 55,762,637 times
Reputation: 18988
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlanoGirl View Post
You back here now, SBinU? Where did you end up moving too?
Little Elm but Frisco ISD, 4 min from the grandkids.

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Old 10-22-2012, 07:19 AM
 
8,251 posts, read 9,001,576 times
Reputation: 6620
Moderator cut: link removed, linking to competitor sites is not allowed


OP
Assuming similar lifestyles, living in LA is about 60% more expensive than Dallas. Wages, are a bit lower around Dallas but nowhere near enough to erase the cost of living differences.

Last edited by Yac; 10-24-2012 at 06:56 AM..
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Grapevine, Texas
9,806 posts, read 20,426,795 times
Reputation: 7172
As others have said, your husband MUST find a job before you decide where to live! The areas in DFW that you are considering are nice, but they are also in the far NE corner of a huge metro area. This will be great if he can get on with one of those departments, but if he can't, then he is in for an awful commute! Also, remember that many PDs require their officers to live within 30 minutes of their station, so that's another reason not to choose a place to live before your husband nails down a job.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:50 AM
 
Location: The Lone Star State
8,031 posts, read 7,613,014 times
Reputation: 5042
You need to know where the job will be first.

As far as suburb differences between the cities, there's not a huge difference. But a few things I've noticed: the northern Dallas burbs seem to have a lot of homes with back alleys. Not a big fan of that. Also Austin suburbs are greener/ more treed than those of DFW, though not as much as those of Houston for example which are very green with tall trees.
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