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Old 06-30-2015, 02:36 PM
Location: Austin, TX
13 posts, read 11,148 times
Reputation: 30


My apologies for starting another "moving to Dallas" thread. I know you get far too many of them as it is. I've actually spent the past month pouring over old threads, reading the DMN, Observer, and various blogs in an effort to get educated on the neighborhoods around the Metroplex. Now that I at least have a fairly strong idea of what I'm looking for, and am mildly educated on the neighborhoods, I wanted to pick the collective brain of the one group of people I know KNOW Dallas. So, thank you for taking the time to offer feedback & advice.

I grew up in a small, blue collar town east of Dallas and am relocating my family & company to the area (from Austin) to be closer to my aging parents. My wife & I are essentially looking for 4+ bedrooms and around 3,000 - 3,700 sq ft on at least .30 acres. We can afford to spend up to $1.2M, but would prefer to be under $1M. Due to family & friendships, we're looking in the areas north of I-30 and east of the Tollway. We're willing to be as close as downtown and as far out as McKinney, Prosper, etc.

Despite my company's success, I am not, nor do I desire to be part of the nouveau riche. I'm not showy, and I don't keep up with the Joneses. So, I don't need a fancy zip code for bragging rights. Stylistically, my wife & I love neighborhoods covered in huge trees, where every house doesn't look just like every other house. We're not a fan of most of the big, sprawling, tree-less suburban neighborhood that have 8 different house plans that have simply been flipped, rotated, and dressed in different stone & brick, with a $5 Lowes tree planted in the front yard. We also tend to gravitate towards older homes from the late 60s and prior. We love walking & hiking, being in nature, unique (non-chain) restaurants, mom & pop shops, sidewalk cafes, wine bars, etc. Though we like proximity to shopping, we are perfectly happy in a neighborhood that is pure residential, requiring you to leave the area to go to the grocery store, etc. Also, we have one baby with another on the way, but schools aren't a primary concern.

From weeks & weeks of research, the areas I've read about that appealed to me are:

* Lakewood
* Lochwood
* Forest Hills
* Lake Highlands
* Jan Mar
* Highland Park
* University Park
* Preston Hollow
* Canyon Creek in Richardson

The following have also been recommended, but I haven't had a chance to read about them as in depth:

* West Plano
* East Plano
* McKinney
* Fairview
* Prosper
* Murphy
* Parker
* Farmersville

Any recommendations or feedback?

Last edited by BusinessHorn; 06-30-2015 at 02:49 PM..
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Old 06-30-2015, 05:38 PM
34 posts, read 139,057 times
Reputation: 27
Highland Park and University Park are more about the status out of the list there, plus it can be hard to feel like you are getting the bang for your buck. The area around white rock lake (as you have on your list) best describes what I pictured while reading your post. You may also like the M-Streets (named that way because so many start with the letter M) -- Greenville Avenue has all sidewalk cafes. All of your second choices aside from Plano are nice when it comes to land, but not many trees since they are fairly new. Downtown McKinney has a nice older victorian area. West Plano, you might like the vibe of the shoppes at legacy (Maybe you'd like the willow bend neighborhood). Not sure you'll find anything in your price range for east plano as they are much less expensive. You could also consider lakefront on Ray hubbard (Rockwall/Heath) for more of your hiking/nature fix. It's a quick ride up the tollway to plano or downtown (30 mins).
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:37 PM
Location: Dallas, TX
472 posts, read 308,456 times
Reputation: 799
All are good options in one way or the other. I would definitely suggest driving around the areas and seeing which may appeal to you. A few items to consider:

1. Budget will prove a limitation for Highland Park and University Park. There are others much more familiar with that market than I am, but my impression is that any SFH in that price range within HPISD has other significant issues (busy street, poor condition, etc.).

2. You mention schools aren't a primary concern, but you may want to consider what your long term plans are in terms of education. Many of the well regarded private schools in Dallas are located in North Dallas and would be kind a long commute from some of the East Dallas neighborhoods you mention. On the flip side, at least at the elementary school level, there is more participation and support from the residential neighborhoods for the East Dallas schools like Lakewood and Stonewall Jackson (M-Streets).

3. Overall, for your wish list and budget, it definitely seems like Lakewood would be the best fit (or adjacent areas).

4. Lot size might be a bit of an issue. In general, the lot sizes in the North Dallas neighborhoods tend to be larger than in Lakewood/M-Streets.
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:59 PM
2,982 posts, read 8,178,925 times
Reputation: 1539
It sounds like Forest Hills and Casa Linda would be a good direction to look considering most homes in those neighborhoods have larger lots.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:04 PM
11,672 posts, read 21,240,989 times
Reputation: 10062
Based on the info provided, I think you would be very happy in an East Dallas neighborhood with close proximity to Lower Greenville (a Mecca for local restaurants, walkability, casual vibe, etc). To get the SF you're looking for likely rules out the M Streets, which is the neighborhood lower Greenville is in (darling neighborhood of historic Tudors and Austin Stone cottages). The next closest neighborhood is Lakewood Heights (between Skillman & Abrams)...most homes of that SF are going to be new construction which range from cookie cutter to just plain ugly. The next neighborhood over is Lakewood proper- your budget is healthy and you can likely find a nicely remodeled original historic home. 1/3 acre may be possible, maybe not, just depends on what is on the market. While Lower Greenville is too far to walk/bike, it's just a 5-10 minute drive. Lakewood has plenty of shopping itself, though it is becoming more chain and less mom& pop than it used to be. The local elementary school is strong which takes away the school headache, at least until middle school. Lakewood is on the West Bank of White Rock Lake, which offers many biking trails, park space, etc (it is not a lake for swimming or motor boats, FYI).

You may also want to take a look at a few other neighborhoods:
1. Far East Dallas/ Forest Hills
Pros: beautiful huge lots & historic homes, adjacent to White Rock Lake & Dallas Arboretum, up & coming area for indie restaurants, crunchy yet moneyed vibe
Cons: public schools stink and a very far distance (30+ min each way) to the top private schools. Several good private options in east Dallas but majority are in north Dallas. Also, general location is very far east when considering the center of Dallas - far from DFW & Love Field airports, far from most major job centers, etc.

2. North Dallas, Jan Mar/ Northaven Hillcrest neighborhood:
Pros: bigger lots (.4-.5 acre is common) mostly with 1950's ranches and a nice collection of mid-century moderns, , rolling hills & mature trees, strong elementary school (Kramer), more centrsl location than anyhing in east Dallas, close proximity to most elite privates, new Northaven Trail runs through the neighborhood. Feels like a secluded neighborhood but within 1 mile of 75 & 635 highways
Cons: not walking distance to any shopping & dining, but 5 minutes to Preston Royal, Preston Forest, 10 min to Preston Center, etc.

3. North Dallas, Preston Royal/Preston Hollow
Pros: bigger lots (.4-.5) with a mix of remodeled 1950's ranches and new construction, central location (close proximity to 75/635/DNT), walking distance to 1-2 shopping centers (filled with many locally owned places like TJ's Seafood and Meso Maya), nice trees (many streets still feel like country lanes), Northaven Trail runs through/near neighborhood , proximity to top privates
Cons: most homes not zoned to good elementary school, more new construction (though there is more diversity than in the far out suburbs- lots of modern,, Spanish Revival, Tudor, Farmhouse, etc styles of new homes)
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