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Old 01-22-2009, 08:38 PM
 
1 posts, read 10,858 times
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Hello,

I've just started to look for new homes in Southern Trails community in Pearland. I'd very much appreciate it if you could share your insights about this area. I've heard about some issues related to expansion of landfill somewhere near that area. Is this problem for real?

Also I've heard that this area is zoned to Alvin ISD and not Pearland ISD. Is this correct? I've read that Alvin ISD is rated much lower than Pearland ISD.

Given these concerns are new homes in Southern Trails worth their value?

I also wonder what a fair range in terms of $/sq ft is for new homes in Southern trails? I'm looking for 4 B/R, 3.5 Bath, 2 story, ~ 3000 sqft. I see that Ashton Woods has advertised their list price for these homes starting at $257,000. Is this overpriced for this area given the concerns related to ISDs and landfill or have people been able to buy similar sized homes at lower prices?

Any insight or help that you can provide will be very much appreciated.

Thank you very much.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:52 PM
 
132 posts, read 523,297 times
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Member TimnWendy is an encyclopedia on southerntrails as he lives there..Wait for his post..
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:16 PM
 
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The landfill issue is a little overhyped, IMO, unless you live in the far western part of Shadow Creek Ranch, which is right across the road from the landfill. To me, even the far western part of Southern Trails is far enough from the landfill that it wouldn't concern me.

You should drive by the landfill yourself - stop and smell while you're there. It's on the west side of 521 (Almeda) a little south of 2234 (McHard). I've driven by there a few times and never smelled a thing, although I don't know which direction the wind was blowing on those days.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
4,751 posts, read 12,042,562 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by house_hunter_2009 View Post

Also I've heard that this area is zoned to Alvin ISD and not Pearland ISD. Is this correct? I've read that Alvin ISD is rated much lower than Pearland ISD.
A quick scan of HAR.com does seem to show that Southern Trails is zoned to Alvin ISD rather than Pearland ISD. Honestly, Pearland ISD has a mixed reputation...some great schools and some terrible ones. It is probably better to look at the specific schools rather than the entire district. You can read parent reviews at GreatSchools.net
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Old 01-23-2009, 05:31 AM
Status: "Pearlander" (set 4 days ago)
 
Location: Pearland (Southern Trails)
470 posts, read 1,394,225 times
Reputation: 364
Quote:
Originally Posted by house_hunter_2009 View Post
Hello,

I've just started to look for new homes in Southern Trails community in Pearland. I'd very much appreciate it if you could share your insights about this area. I've heard about some issues related to expansion of landfill somewhere near that area. Is this problem for real?

Also I've heard that this area is zoned to Alvin ISD and not Pearland ISD. Is this correct? I've read that Alvin ISD is rated much lower than Pearland ISD.

Given these concerns are new homes in Southern Trails worth their value?

I also wonder what a fair range in terms of $/sq ft is for new homes in Southern trails? I'm looking for 4 B/R, 3.5 Bath, 2 story, ~ 3000 sqft. I see that Ashton Woods has advertised their list price for these homes starting at $257,000. Is this overpriced for this area given the concerns related to ISDs and landfill or have people been able to buy similar sized homes at lower prices?

Any insight or help that you can provide will be very much appreciated.

Thank you very much.
Hi, I live in ST and will try to answer your questions.

The Blue Ridge Landfill, and it's possible\probable expansion is definitely something to consider if you are thinking about buying anywhere on the west side of Pearland. I've been doing my best to keep up with news about it, and get opinions of people who live near it. Here are my opinions on it:

If you live east of Kingsley drive (County Rd 48) you are probably not going to be affected by it much. This means if you are looking to build or buy in Southern Trails, you should only choose a location inside the main part of ST. Don't look over in the Enclave at Southern Trails section, since that is west of Kingsley, and will put you too close to it.

My house is on the far east side of ST, very near the main entrance (Broadway/518 and Half Moon Bay/ST Drive). I've tried to measure the distance "as the crow flies" between my house and the landfill, by using aerial maps with distance scales. My best estimate puts my house at approx. 2 miles from the landfill. I have been living here for almost a year now and have never smelled anything foul. Only one of my neighbors has said they have ever smelled anything. Now, if you stay east of Kingsley drive you are going to be over 1 mile away from the landfill. That, in my opinion, is probably far enough away not to be affected (please bear in mind I am not an expert).

ST is indeed zoned to Alvin ISD. I don't have kids in school, but my neighbors are all pleased with the schools. Our elementary school is the Wilder Elementary up in Shadowcreek Ranch. It's a brand new school. Our middle school is Nolan Ryan Middle School, up on 2234. It's a brand new school. Our High School is Alvin High. Still fairly new, I believe.

I know that NR Middle school is a "magnet" school, because my neighbor has a daughter in the special advanced classes there. He is pleased with the education she's getting there.

My other neighbor has 3 boys, in elementary and middle school. He had them all in private school before he moved to ST. He is pleased enough with the Alvin ISD that he now lets all 3 attend schools in it.

Recently we found out that there are plans for a new elementary school right across Broadway from the entrance to ST. No ETA on when that will break ground, but when it does get built our kids will probably go there.

I don't know much about the ratings between Alvin ISD and Pearland ISD. I just know my neighbors seem happy with Alvin ISD. Maybe this story will give you a better perspective: Pearland ISD had a special waiver last fall (due to the hurricane) to allow kids to attend it's school district even if they lived elsewhere. To my knowledge, none of my neighbors switched their kids to PISD.

Now about home values. I think, overall, every new home in the GHA is going to lose some value over the next few years. It's just part of our times. But eventually, it will all rebound. So in my opinion the thing to do right now is to find the best value for your dollar. I do think ST provides that.

I think you should try to keep your price below $100/sq ft, including upgrades. You can do this with all the builders at ST, provided you don't go wild at the design center (if you are planning to build).

Now for the builders at ST. I advise you to stay away from Trophy and Imperial. My neighbors who have Trophy homes are constantly complaining about workmanship and customer service. As for Imperial, they have not been selling many houses in ST, and there are reports that they are in financial difficulty (read other posts in this forum about Imperial). That really leaves you with Trendmaker, Ashton Woods, or Newmark. Newmark's parent company TOUSA has been in bankruptcy for a few years now, but Newmark still seems to be doing ok. My neighbors who have Newmark Homes are mostly satisfied. However, Newmark only builds in the Enclave section, and because that is west of Kingsley, I advise you not to sign with them.

I own an Ashton Woods home. Ashton Woods has also been taking hits financially these last few years (heck, what builder hasn't?), but the company still seems strong. I know they've had layoffs, but my warranty work has been done on time just fine, their customer service has remained high, and I've not had any major problems with my home. My neighbors who own Ashton Woods homes are all basically satisfied. Trendmaker is the elite builder at ST, and my neighbors who have bought/built homes from them are quite happy (at least to my knowledge). So to summarize, I'd urge you to only build/buy from Trendmaker or Ashton Woods if you are going to live in Southern Trails.

Now about making the deal with a builder...the bottom line is negotiate! If you have the money and the good credit rating, the home buying market is yours to rule right now. Trust me on this. I negotiated for about $15-20K of incentives from AW, and that was back in 2007 before things got really bad for homebuilders. You can really make some good deals now, if you are patient and do your homework. And beware of the seller's tricks. I've seen what AW has listed some of their inventory homes for in ST. They've artifically added about $20-30K to every one, just so they can let themselves be 'talked down' in negotiations and still make a profit. I'm pretty sure Trendmaker is doing this too.

We have a growing community at ST but we are still only about 25% filled. That means Ashton Woods (the community developer) controls our HOA for now, but based on the last HOA meeting and what I've seen since, they are committed to putting money into the community to help it sell.

Our HOA dues are $750/yearly and there is a one-time extra $350 payment at closing. Our tax rate in ST is 3.551.

We have an ethnically diverse community but people seem to want to meet each other and watch out for each other. We have Yahoo group for residents that now has almost 70 members in it (see my profile for link). We use it to keep everyone informed of stuff going on in the community and our part of west Pearland.

I hope you take the time to click on my profile and view the photo album I built for Southern Trails. You may learn something you didn't know from your visits (for example: we held up pretty well during the hurricane, and Ashton Woods repaired the damage we had very quickly).

Bottom line is that Wendy and I are quite happy living there.

Let me know if I can answer anything else. Feel free to pm me if you don't want to post publicly.

Best of luck on your home-hunting, whatever you decide.
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:45 PM
 
10 posts, read 58,564 times
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Default Living in Southern Trails

I so appreciated reading all the valuable information with regard to builders and the surroundings of Southern Trails. For someone such as myself who has fallen in love with this beautiful area, you have answered a lot of questions and put some issues to rest. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Patricia
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:26 PM
Status: "Pearlander" (set 4 days ago)
 
Location: Pearland (Southern Trails)
470 posts, read 1,394,225 times
Reputation: 364
Next week we are having our annual HOA meeting. If the HOA divulges any big news, I'll share the highlights here.

In fairness, I should add that recently we've seen a resurgence in Imperial Homes here. They are finally completing some homes that have been work-in-progress for months, and they have a couple of new start-ups. Plus, their available lots are once again sporting the Imperial sign. However, their model home is still up for sale and I do not believe they have any sales staff manning it. So I'd still be leery of signing a contract with them right now.

Newmark Homes decided to pull out of Texas. It was bought out by a local group. This group is keeping the Newmark name, but will be called Newmark Homes Houston. They have startups going in the Enclave section of ST. Just wanted to pass that on, since anyone signing with Newmark here in the Houston area needs to understand they are now dealing with a local builder, not a nationwide one. This is probably good, since the nationwide Newmark was owned by TOUSA, and has been in bankruptcy proceedings for a few years now. However, Newmark Homes Houston is still very new, and needs to establish a good reputation. We will see what happens in the future.
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:03 PM
 
3 posts, read 15,830 times
Reputation: 10
Default Newmark Houston is not new

FYI, Newmark Houston was bought by two executives with investor backing from the Newmark homes Houston Div. not new at all.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:56 AM
 
12 posts, read 57,220 times
Reputation: 20
There is lot of new construction going on at Enclave at southern trails ...Good sign for NEWMARK Homes Houston. Heard from many that they are good builders .
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:50 PM
 
20 posts, read 75,928 times
Reputation: 22
Default SOuthern Trails...

Hello Southern trails! I was wanting to ask advice with regards to ashton woods homes in southern trails. We are planning to buy a christopher home at sundown glen section. I beleive its 2,909 sq. ft on a 60 ft. lot originally priced at 292k and they are willing to sell for 258K. The house has a lot of upgrades its got wood floors all throughout the 1st floor, iron spindles on stairways and on 2nd floor. Do you think 258k is worth the home or based on your experiences should I negotiate for more? the home is also along the east portion of kingsley and just across the road is enclave I wonder if it would also be affected with the landfill issues. Thanks a lot for any inputs..
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