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Old 11-29-2014, 02:20 PM
 
7 posts, read 11,710 times
Reputation: 16

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Hi, I'm looking for advice on home buying and affordable neighborhoods in Dallas.

My husband and I are in our late 20s. I work in downtown and he works near SMU. Our combined income is $87,000 and I don't think we'll ever be high earners like (it seems) many people on these boards.

We have no debt right now and have been renting a one bedroom condo in Oak Lawn for the past four years at well below the market rate. We paid off my student loans in April 2013 and since then have been socking away as much as we can for retirement and a down payment for a house. Now we're starting to think about having kids. We have a 6 month emergency fund and about $14k in our down payment savings account. By this time next year we should have around $32k in our down payment account.

I've been looking online at houses and neighborhoods, but I'm getting overwhelmed trying to find something that a) we can afford (monthly payment of $700 or less), b) isn't far from work, and c) has decent schools. I'm not convinced such a neighborhood exists for us.

We'd like something small/medium sized -- 1,100 to 1,400 square feet. We are not McMansion types and can't afford it, anyway. We don't want to live in the suburbs, although Richardson would probably be OK.

Is our only option is to buy a total dump and then do a bunch of DIY renovations? My dad is a home builder and would be able to help us a little and teach us how to do things, so that could be doable...

Any advice is appreciated!
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Old 11-29-2014, 02:33 PM
 
385 posts, read 455,796 times
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No debt? With $84K combined income I feel like you can afford more than $700 a month.

I would wait and see what you get approved for and maybe go from there.
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Old 11-29-2014, 02:38 PM
 
7 posts, read 11,710 times
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We want to keep our monthly payment low enough that if one of us lost our job suddenly (not likely to happen - but you never know!), we wouldn't have any trouble paying our bills.
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Old 11-29-2014, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Dallas
2,426 posts, read 3,252,503 times
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Wynnewood North (75224) - Not the best schools, but there are great options you could transfer to. The houses are beautiful and shockingly inexpensive considering how close it is to all the amenities in North Oak Cliff.

Casa Linda (75218) Good neighborhood schools, and others that you could potentially transfer to. Decent home prices in the smaller homes. Very good commute wise.

Old Lake Highlands (75218) ^ see above
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Old 11-29-2014, 03:25 PM
 
247 posts, read 353,607 times
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was in very similar situation with you - i did hours and hours of searching and looking at homes, neighborhoods in dallas - the only area that worked for us was 75218, 75238. we ended up in 75218. I am happy with the area but will say I did want a new home but what i got was a 60 year old home that needed new roof, electrical, etc. Just be ready to compromise and dont expect manicured lawns, perfect paved driveways, attached 2 car garages etc. I feel "pretty" safe here and its nice to own a house in the city vs the suburbs. Been told numerous times that i made a good investment.

i would also add to make sure to get a thorough inspection, its almost guaranteed to have some problems if it hasnt been sold in the while and you will want to negotiate the price after these issues come up- i know a few people that have bought in the area and all have had to do some repairs of some sort(but they were able to knock quite a bit off the price)

It seems its either young couples or older retired people in my neighborhood.

Last edited by whj3773; 11-29-2014 at 03:34 PM..
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Old 11-29-2014, 04:07 PM
 
Location: East Dallas
931 posts, read 2,037,854 times
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Good luck I think that your plan is feasible.
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Old 11-29-2014, 04:26 PM
 
7 posts, read 11,710 times
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Thanks for the advice. I'll keep looking in the zip codes y'all have mentioned.
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Old 11-29-2014, 04:41 PM
 
13,118 posts, read 26,526,524 times
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Yes, it's possible! Ronnie made some great suggestions and I'd also add a few more North Oak Cliff neighborhoods to your shopping list: Kessler Square (75211) and Elmwood (75224). Both are safe and full of charming historic cottages for <$175k. Kessler Square looks just like University Park did 50 years ago! Neither are zoned to good schools but you don't even have kids yet so wouldn't worry about it. There are magnet and transfer options and with the strong gentrification push underway, wouldn't be surprised to see a 2nd or 3rd desirable elementary school in NOC blossom over the next decade.

Also, don't rule out a the NOC neighborhoods zoned to Rosemont Elem (the one strong public there today) as there's currently a home in West Kessler that was listed at $185k (pending sale now).
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Old 11-29-2014, 04:45 PM
 
13,118 posts, read 26,526,524 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baylorbear09 View Post
We want to keep our monthly payment low enough that if one of us lost our job suddenly (not likely to happen - but you never know!), we wouldn't have any trouble paying our bills.
Do you mean keep your mortgage payment at $700/mo? Or your mortgage + taxes + insurance? If just mortgage, then yes, it's doable. You'll need to stay under $170-175k home prices and your total payment will be a little over $1,130/mo.

If you mean all-in for $700/mo, then NO. Absolutely not possible as you'd be looking at $100k priced homes and you're not even going to find a "fixer upper" in a neighborhood where you'd want to walk alone at night.


I get your concern about losing a job and being worried about bills, but it's a better plan to have a 6-12 months of expenses saved up than to lower your home shopping budget so drastically that you're living near Fair Park and don't have a safe park to take your future children to! If you have 6-12 months of expenses (mortgage/ taxes/ insurance, home bills, food, cars payments / gas/ insurance, medical, etc) in savings, you'd have enough time to most likely find a new job before running out of money. If at 6 months, you hadn't replaced the income yet, you would still have plenty of time to sell the house.
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Old 11-29-2014, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Willowbend/Houston
13,390 posts, read 24,447,734 times
Reputation: 10549
Does it have to be Dallas, or are you open to a suburb?
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