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Old 12-10-2008, 07:41 PM
 
Location: Murphy, TX
645 posts, read 2,613,148 times
Reputation: 435

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Having lived in Richardson for a bit now, I have noticed several annoyances/bad things about the housing here in DFW/Texas. A lot of it will admit is related to having lived in a small town in Missouri for a very long time and is probably my personal preference. When I buy house here, hopefully in 1 year, these are going to be bugging me quite a bit.

-First is has to do with lot sizes in most of houses in DFW. Most houses in Plano/Garland/Dallas seems to very small front and backyard with the house occupying more than half of lot! Back in my MO town all the house tons of backyard space. Some of the 300k+ and 400k+ homes here have tiny backyard. Heck my parents first home, which was less than 100k, in MO had a bigger backyard than them! To get a bigger lot you need to go way far out of town, even then I see some places in Wylie has small lots... Texas has tons of land, so why they don't make big lots for all the houses?

-2nd a lot of the neighborhoods, especially in newer areas hardly have any street lights. Just some at intersections, but some of intersection a very far apart. It is just so dark driving down these neighborhoods at night. How do people go out for walk after sunset? It would easier to hit car or person due to darkness. Back in Columbia, MO all the neighborhoods had tons of street lights. You can safely go take walk at night and actually see where you are going.

- 3rd, Most of the houses have rear entry garages through an alleyway. Though lucky some house have L or front garages, but not all. Here the problem I see with this:
  • Tiny Alley way seems very dangerous and accident prone.
  • Makes backyard even smaller, cuts it almost in half!
  • Forces you use front door to leave out the front of house. I like keep front door area free of shoes/mess so guest don't see a nice and clean entry. In fact in my Apt I only use garage door and never front door ever. I am used to leaving all my shoes and sandals at Garage area. This means I need extra shoes at front door, carry shoes over, or walk out garage and around to the front.
  • Some Alleyway are very long, probably might take 5 minutes to safely get out of the Alleyway.
-4th the Master Bathroom has tiny toilet stall/room. I swear the toilet area in most houses I have visited is smaller than stalls in my work's restroom. I definitely wouldn't feel very conformable doing my business in that tiny toilet area. They really need make them wider especially, it seems just so crammed in.

-5th Texas houses lacking a nice additional storage place for stuff/junk. In Missouri we had basement were we put all junk. All you had to do it walk downstairs and dump stuff there. Some house seem to a tiny bit of storage space in attic, but might you need climb up steps and/or it so small compared to a big basement! I like to keep my garage for the cars and not for junk.

-6th. Note this is a rare occurrence, but I have noticed few Single Family Home communities have combined mailbox areas like apartments/townhouses! Never seen such a setup in Missouri. Sure it may save postman some time but I think it is pain to drive down to check mail there. And poor guy that has all mailboxes in front his house probably gets bothered at lot. Luckily most house do have their own mailboxes in DFW, because I would never buy house in such a community. Who the heck in Texas came up with this annoying idea???

There may be few more annoyance, but just can't think of them now. It might be easy to avoid 1 or 2 off these annoyances in a house, but I think I probably have hard time finding a house that doesn't have any one of the 6 problems with them...

I thought I balance my criticism out by mentioning some BIG plus points I see in DFW houses that are indeed lacking in Missouri:

-Media Room are great! Absolutely want one any house I buy. Never see them in MO.
-2nd Master Bedroom. Having 2 master bedrooms is nice touch. Definitely useful setup which isn't in MO.
-Formal Living & Dining Areas. Those great for entertaining guests!
-Brick siding, stone accents. I definitely love those brick siding and stone accents. Great protection from hail damage and looks nice. Most of houses in Missouri have siding and tiny big of brick if any.
-L shape / side entry garage. While I really don't like rear entry and Front are Ok. But L shape garage I see here in DFW are best styles yet. Would love to get home with side or L entry garage. (Again haven't see them in MO).

Last edited by unseengundam; 12-10-2008 at 08:41 PM.. Reason: balancing it out
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,093 posts, read 72,479,637 times
Reputation: 27565
I guess Missouri is a better place to live.
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Murphy, TX
645 posts, read 2,613,148 times
Reputation: 435
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyTexan View Post
I guess Missouri is a better place to live.
Not so, it has is plus and mines. Note I never claimed MO houses is perfect OR better than DFW, but their problem probably belong in thread in MO forums!

The absolute WORST thing about Missouri is freezing cold winter that last 4-5 months. You get tons of ice/snow, roads totally iced over for days. I HATE winter, give 100 degree weather any day over 40 or below. It a big reason I moved down, I swear I couldn't live through a 4 month winter with below zero temps. BTW, I am DYING in cold weather in DFW right now. At least, it supposed to near 70 on Sunday again
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:50 PM
 
824 posts, read 1,605,319 times
Reputation: 597
Quote:
Originally Posted by unseengundam View Post
Having lived in Richardson for a bit now, I have noticed several annoyances/bad things about the housing here in DFW/Texas. A lot of it will admit is related to having lived in a small town in Missouri for a very long time and is probably my personal preference. When I buy house here, hopefully in 1 year, these are going to be bugging me quite a bit.

-First is has to do with lot sizes in most of houses in DFW. Most houses in Plano/Garland/Dallas seems to very small front and backyard with the house occupying more than half of lot! Back in my MO town all the house tons of backyard space. Some of the 300k+ and 400k+ homes here have tiny backyard. Heck my parents first home, which was less than 100k, in MO had a bigger backyard than them! To get a bigger lot you need to go way far out of town, even then I see some places in Wylie has small lots... Texas has tons of land, so why they don't make big lots for all the houses?

-2nd a lot of the neighborhoods, especially in newer areas hardly have any street lights. Just some at intersections, but some of intersection a very far apart. It is just so dark driving down these neighborhoods at night. How do people go out for walk after sunset? It would easier to hit car or person due to darkness. Back in Columbia, MO all the neighborhoods had tons of street lights. You can safely go take walk at night and actually see where you are going.

- 3rd, Most of the houses have rear entry garages through an alleyway. Though lucky some house have L or front garages, but not all. Here the problem I see with this:
  • Tiny Alley way seems very dangerous and accident prone.
  • Makes backyard even smaller, cuts it almost in half!
  • Forces you use front door to leave out the front of house. I like keep front door area free of shoes/mess so guest don't see a nice and clean entry. In fact in my Apt I only use garage door and never front door ever. I am used to leaving all my shoes and sandals at Garage area. This means I need extra shoes at front door, carry shoes over, or walk out garage and around to the front.
  • Some Alleyway are very long, probably might take 5 minutes to safely get out of the Alleyway.
-4th the Master Bathroom has tiny toilet stall/room. I swear the toilet area in most houses I have visited is smaller than stalls in my work's restroom. I definitely wouldn't feel very conformable doing my business in that tiny toilet area. They really need make them wider especially, it seems just so crammed in.

-5th Texas houses lacking a nice additional storage place for stuff/junk. In Missouri we had basement were we put all junk. All you had to do it walk downstairs and dump stuff there. Some house seem to a tiny bit of storage space in attic, but might you need climb up steps and/or it so small compared to a big basement! I like to keep my garage for the cars and not for junk.

-6th. Note this is a rare occurrence, but I have noticed few Single Family Home communities have combined mailbox areas like apartments/townhouses! Never seen such a setup in Missouri. Sure it may save postman some time but I think it is pain to drive down to check mail there. And poor guy that has all mailboxes in front his house probably gets bothered at lot. Luckily most house do have their own mailboxes in DFW, because I would never buy house in such a community. Who the heck in Texas came up with this annoying idea???

There may be few more annoyance, but just can't think of them now. It might be easy to avoid 1 or 2 off these annoyances in a house, but I think I probably have hard time finding a house that doesn't have any one of the 6 problems with them...
What a weird post. I almost passed by, but couldn't resist. First, you're not describing "DFW" houses. You're describing one type of house in one suburban city in a huge metropolitan area.

1st: You live in the 4th largest city in the US, not in a small town. Lot sizes are smaller in Richardson because land that is closer to Dallas is more valuable. Surely this has occured to you as a potential explanation.

2nd: In single-family subdivisions, it's normal to have fewer street lights because people like dark, quiet neighborhoods, and also because street lights are expensive to build.

3rd: This just isn't true. In fact, there's more houses in DFW that have front-loaded garages as opposed to rear-loaded (alleys). Of course, front-loaded garages are terrible for neighborhoods. They're ugly and out-of-scale, they interrupt the sidewalk for pedestrians, and they encourage people to park in their driveways. "Forces you to use the front door"? Uh, yeah. It's the front door to your house. That's sorta the point, no? And a five-minute drive from the alley to the street? I've never seen that. Cities wouldn't allow it.

4th: That's just a bizzare observation. I've lived in St. Louis, MO, and never noticed "wider" bathroom stalls. How much room do you need?

5th: Has it occured to you that you might have too much junk? Buy a bigger house or have a yard sale.

6th: The USPS makes this decision, not developers or builders. They started with this idea because suburban subdivisions tend to feature curvilinear streets that don't connect (lots & lots of cul-de-sacs), and it was very ineffecient to deliver mail to individual houses. Again, that's only in some subdivisions.

Strange post. Hope this, uh, helps.
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:31 PM
 
Location: taxed out of NJ
137 posts, read 469,347 times
Reputation: 66
Actually many "new urbanism" developments throughout this country are following this exact kind of design - smaller lots, back alley and garage in the back (all to reduce width of lot, hence to reduce sprawling, to promote environmentally friendly landuse, and to promote a sense of community). They call it "smart growth". In many areas of this country this kind of design is considered to be trendy and cool. That's why Celebration, FL (built by Disney) was such a big hit when it first debut. My community in New Jersey is exactly like what you described and many people embrace this idea here. Community design like this is supported by 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania (which had a PBS TV special to argue for this idea), the author of "Not So Big House", Congress for New Urbanism...etc. Perhaps DFW is actually ahead of its time.
Of course that's why it's called "New Urbanism" - not "ruralism"...

Last edited by lwnj; 12-10-2008 at 09:44 PM..
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Old 12-11-2008, 12:11 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
2,346 posts, read 5,975,857 times
Reputation: 2296
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvlpr View Post
What a weird post. I almost passed by, but couldn't resist. First, you're not describing "DFW" houses. You're describing one type of house in one suburban city in a huge metropolitan area.

1st: You live in the 4th largest city in the US, not in a small town. Lot sizes are smaller in Richardson because land that is closer to Dallas is more valuable. Surely this has occured to you as a potential explanation.

2nd: In single-family subdivisions, it's normal to have fewer street lights because people like dark, quiet neighborhoods, and also because street lights are expensive to build.

3rd: This just isn't true. In fact, there's more houses in DFW that have front-loaded garages as opposed to rear-loaded (alleys). Of course, front-loaded garages are terrible for neighborhoods. They're ugly and out-of-scale, they interrupt the sidewalk for pedestrians, and they encourage people to park in their driveways. "Forces you to use the front door"? Uh, yeah. It's the front door to your house. That's sorta the point, no? And a five-minute drive from the alley to the street? I've never seen that. Cities wouldn't allow it.

4th: That's just a bizzare observation. I've lived in St. Louis, MO, and never noticed "wider" bathroom stalls. How much room do you need?

5th: Has it occured to you that you might have too much junk? Buy a bigger house or have a yard sale.

6th: The USPS makes this decision, not developers or builders. They started with this idea because suburban subdivisions tend to feature curvilinear streets that don't connect (lots & lots of cul-de-sacs), and it was very ineffecient to deliver mail to individual houses. Again, that's only in some subdivisions.

Strange post. Hope this, uh, helps.
Let me jump in and defend the OP. As I was reading his post, I was nodding in agreement to just about everything he said.

For the rebuttal to the rebuttal:

Preamble: Is this guy really just describing Richardson homes? Hardly. His beefs apply just as well to Garland, Mesquite, Plano, Frisco, Carrollton, De Soto, and pretty much anywhere in Dallas below 7 figures.

1) Chicago suburbs don't have these ridiculously small plots. And Dallas really isn't a land-poor city, like San Francisco. Even lots 20-30 miles outside of NYC aren't postage-stamp sized like these here in North Texas. Honestly, the DFW plot sizes look like they were platted in 1880, not 1980. I thought everything was bigger in Texas. What gives?

2) Criminals like dark streets as well. I live in a new development here in DFW, and we have a streetlight at each corner - that's it. It's honestly a bit spooky to walk around at night, due to the darkness. Up in Minneapolis, where I'm from, we'd have a streetlight every 4 or 5 houses.

3) I agree with the OP. I think alleys suck, for the very same reasons. (Well, except for the shoe thing - I didn't get that at all.) I've had an alley home up north and down here, and I've had a non-alley home in both places. I much prefer front or side entry garages.

I have yet to see the alley that didn't look like complete crap. All the usual kid stuff - bicycling, basketball, jump rope - takes place by an icky alley, instead of in the front of the house. And with alleys, you rarely have those "hey, how ya doin'?" encounters that build a community spirit. No one ever uses the front door.

"Front garages terrible for neighborhoods"? Heck, that was a major buying point for my current home.

"Encourages people to park in their driveways"??? Why is that a problem? Do people not park in their alley driveways? If not, it's probably because the alley is more inviting to car break-ins than parking a car in the front of a house would be. Especially since there are so few streetlights in the alley.

4) I think the OP is referring to the practice of creating a tiny enclosed toilet area inside the master bath. Up north, you tend to just have the toilet sitting out in the open, like you probably have in the other baths in the house. I think the OP has a point - the stall at McDonald's has more room than some houses I've seen.

5) Are you familiar with the term "ad hominem attack"? Because that is an exact description of what you list here for your point #5. The OP may or may not have too much junk. That does NOTHING to refute his/her point that DFW homes are designed with little to no junk storage space. While building my new house, I had to custom add decking of the garage attic to create a storage area, as well as a half-height door to make it possible to access it from inside the house without messing with a ladder. If I hadn't done that, I would have had a storage space/finished space ratio of 0%. Compare that to the 30-40% ratio you typically have for a house with a basement.

6) Those mailboxes suck, but they're not DFW specific - they're nationwide. Plus, they keep your bank statements from getting stolen. So I'll give you this one. That makes 1 out of 6.

Let me tack on my own gripe - those ugly cedar privacy fences that make the yards seem even smaller than they are. You see them sometimes in other places on a few people's property, but only here in Texas are they so ubiquitous. Wide open spaces, my rear end.
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:35 AM
 
Location: WESTIEST Plano, East Texas, Upstate NY
636 posts, read 1,718,477 times
Reputation: 278
Quote:
Originally Posted by unseengundam View Post


-4th the Master Bathroom has tiny toilet stall/room. I swear the toilet area in most houses I have visited is smaller than stalls in my work's restroom. I definitely wouldn't feel very conformable doing my business in that tiny toilet area. They really need make them wider especially, it seems just so crammed in.

Hey, I'm no different than anyone else; there are times I have to do my best impression of a whirling dervish to get my business done - who among us hasn't? But even when I find it necessary to contort and bend like a gold-medal gymnast, I've found that even the most confining water closet enclosures are adequate. In fact, I've found the proximity of the walls useful for leverage on more than one occasion.

I would say that my biggest complaint is a lack of soundproofing and exhaust fan capacity in said enclosures. Hey, I may emerge from the ordeal sweating, with my hair messed up, and out of breath, but I don't want someone down the street hearing what sounds like two wildebeasts mating, and I don't want the odor to cause the plaster to peel .

Seriously, are you serious?
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:54 AM
 
563 posts, read 3,443,635 times
Reputation: 321
To the OP:
It sounds like you are having a hard time getting used to the way things are where you live now.
It's totally normal and I agree with the wierdness of the alleyways and the teeny tiny lots. It makes sense of course since land is at a premium here so they squeeze in as a big a house as they can on the lots. There's a lot that is different about the DFW suburbs from the midwest (we moved from Indiana) and I think its only natural to miss the good stuff from our last homes but these aren't such big things to get used to.
We've been here a year now and stopped noticing much of it. The alleyways do have the positive of not having every tom dick and harry drive by your open garage door when you are working in it. And the trash cans stay in the back where no one has to see them or deal with the trucks. Many people fence in the entire lot with a sliding gate for the driveway and that way you regain the driveway as back yard space (btw you didn't say anything about the godawful towering fences )
Anyway, my point is that these are really small things that don't make life intolerable. The potty might be another issue
Good luck!
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Forney Texas
2,120 posts, read 5,638,106 times
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I think you just need to spend more money on a bigger house. If you got the cash you can buy whatever you want. You can have it built to your specifications. You can even have a really wide toilet area if you wish.
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Old 12-11-2008, 08:10 AM
 
563 posts, read 3,443,635 times
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And about the potty thing . . ..

Ours is humungous! our previous owners didn't like the small loo thing either so they turned the tub into a shower stall, walled off a 5 foot wide section of the master bedroom ( along the length of the wall where the door to the loo is), put in a big garden tub, closets and two sinks on opposite ends of this new 'room'. It's hilarious. The bathroom is almost as big as our guest room!

I don't know if that is something you can do but a house is not written in stone - save up a bit and then you can do a lot to the layout to make it what you want.
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