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Old 06-14-2011, 03:19 PM
 
11 posts, read 18,988 times
Reputation: 13

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It appears that my wife and I will most likely be moving to Midland sometime towards the end of summer. I am being transferred to the city, and my job is not related to the oil business. We recently visited the city, and we liked the area, but we were not too fond of the surrounding geography. We are used to mountains and trees, but I am sure West Texas will grow on us. We are from a very small community, so Midland/Odessa offers more than we are used to. I had a couple of questions I was hoping someone who is familiar with the area could help us out with.

What do most people do for recreational activity? Are there any lakes, camping areas, etc. within reasonable driving distance?

My wife is a nurse, is it going to be hard for her to find work?

We were originally planning on renting, but after visiting we are not sure if that is the best option. We noticed that rent is very high in the area for a decent place. We were told that this is due to the increased oil business in the area.

We are now considering buying a house, and we liked several of the neighborhoods in north and west Midland. What is the housing market like in Midland? Is it a smart time to buy? We will have the option of transferring out of the area in 2-3 years, but we could stay longer if we like it there. Is it a buyers or sellers market in Midland right now? I am afraid of buying a house there, and then having the oil business drop off, and home prices to fall significantly. Do you see this as likely to happen? I know that no one knows the answers to these questions for certain, because it asks about the future. I simply have no idea of what the market is like in the area, and I am trying to get a better idea.

Even if the oil business dropped off in Midland, we could potentially stay there and wait it out, but we probably will not stay there longer than 5 years in any scenario.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks for your help/responses.
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Trans-Pecos Texas
8,989 posts, read 12,296,513 times
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I left Midland 4 years ago, but I will make a few comments, having lived in or near Midland most of my life.

Midland-Odessa has always had its boom and bust periods, and now is no exception. When the oil business is good, rents are high because of the scarcity. I have been told that apartment capacity is nearing 100% right now. House rentals will be high during boom/semi-boom periods as well.

People have been trying to accurately predict what oil and gas are going to do.....and one never knows. I'm not being smart-aleck, either. It's just hard to say. Even seasoned oil business people have often been dead wrong in trying to predict what will happen.

The north/west/northwest is my favorite part of the city--lived in that area for 30 years. Since the oil business is good right now, and rentals are high/scarce, that usually means a seller's market. Midland has had serious booms where the housing prices and interest rates went sky-high, followed by equally serious busts, but I don't see the swings being quite that severe in the future.

Personally, if I were that unfamiliar with the area, and wasn't sure that I was going to stay any length of time, I'd rent before I'd buy, at least for a little while, so you can see how you like the area. Midland gets awfully HOT in the summer, but it's a drier heat than most of Texas. Having said that, it's still not comfortable unless you happen to prefer hot weather. It lasts from April to October.

The closest mountains will be in Alpine/Fort Davis/Marfa, 175 miles southwest. Big Bend National Park (240 miles) is a fantastic place to visit (October through April, NOT the summer) for camping, hiking, etc.

The nearest cooler mountains and trees will be in Cloudcroft and Ruidoso, New Mexico, 265 and 310 miles to the northwest, respectively.

There are a few lakes in the vicinity--Spence, Colorado City Lake, a couple of lakes around San Angelo (115 miles or so), etc, so if you like being on a lake, you'll have a few opportunities. The best (IMHO) is Lake Amistad/Reservior, a much larger area, down by Del Rio, about 250 miles south.

Midland has good restaurants, good amenities and decent shopping.
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:01 PM
 
87 posts, read 82,513 times
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Having moved from Midland not to long ago, I can make a stab at your questions.

We really liked Midland, and only moved because it brought us closer to family and a better job opportunity. While there is not much to do there are some things. Depending if you have kids, they have a nice kid's museum, annual art festival, great air show, Lubbock is not too far (1 1./2hr) to see some college ball, plus some better shopping. Summer Mummers is a blast, Midland has a surprising amount of good restaurants and a very nice Aquatic Center. One of the biggest drawback is that is it pretty much 5 hours of hard driving to any major town but Lubbock. But this also includes the Ski resorts in the Sacramento Mts which is nice and Big Bend National Park.

The job market in Midland tends to be quite good because of the boom going on right now and that professionals are in limited supply. Midland has too hospitals, one being more for minor emergencies and birthing center, and the other the main facility. Odessa has two also I believe and is only an easy 20 miles away. Doctors tend to be in short supply, can only assume the same about nurses.

Though if you do have kids getting child care can be hard which waiting lists everywhere you would want to send your children up to 6 months long, so if you know you are moving or even think you are put your name down. One of the best non-church school is Wee Care, though there are others and there are lot of church care, but they tend to have limited hours.

Northwest Midland tends to be the preferred location to live, though there are some nice neighborhoods on the north side of town, Woodland Parks, Polo Park, on the NW side Greathouse, Greentree and Grasslands. Greentree tends to be older families while Grasslands and Greathouse have younger families. While Midland real estate does ride the wave of oil prices, the market has been pretty steady, considering that the home prices came down only a few percentage points while oil tanked in 2008, but are on the rise again. There is really a shortage of homes and the city has been careful not to over develop the city to prevent huge crashes in the market.

Midland is really a great place if you have kids, a bit harder if you don't, but horrible if you are single. It is just really a family town, the people are incredibly welcoming, since most are transplants themselves.
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Chicago
1,257 posts, read 1,278,208 times
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Quote:
What do most people do for recreational activity? Are there any lakes, camping areas, etc. within reasonable driving distance?
That depends on your definition of "reasonable."

When I moved to Midland, the definition of "reasonable" became within 3 hours.

Mountains are three hours southwest and northwest. Monahan's White Sands State Park is about 1.5-2 hours west. Google "Balmorhea State Park" for the best swimming hole in West Texas.

I liked Midland when I lived there. It's clean, the weather is WONDERFUL, it's not a small town, but it's not so big that traffic will ever be an issue. The people are really nice.
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:40 PM
 
11 posts, read 18,988 times
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Thanks for the advice so far. The posts have been very helpful. Right now we do not have children, but my wife is pregnant so that will change soon. I think that Midland could be a place that we could call home for awhile, and that is what we are hoping for. I guess I just become a little timid with purchasing real estate when the economy is struggling in the rest of the country. I would hate to pay top dollar in Midland, only to have it come crashing down as well. I guess its part of the risks that come along with the game.
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:51 PM
 
2 posts, read 4,402 times
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Sounds like you and I are in the same boat. Moving to Midland in August with the wife and our two daughters, a one month old and a 20 month old.

There seems to be zero decent apartments in Midland according to online reviews, and the houses we visited weren't nearly as nice as I was hoping within our budget. The houses built in the 60's-70's make me worried that they'll have severe electrical/plumbing issues that I'll have to fix. The houses built in the 80's seem decent if they've been remodeled, but the prices are still ridiculously high.

I'm so nervous that the market will crash and we'll have to eat a $50k loss on the property when I'm transferred out of Mildand in a few years.
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Chicago
1,257 posts, read 1,278,208 times
Reputation: 1106
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshTheGoat View Post
Sounds like you and I are in the same boat. Moving to Midland in August with the wife and our two daughters, a one month old and a 20 month old.

There seems to be zero decent apartments in Midland according to online reviews, and the houses we visited weren't nearly as nice as I was hoping within our budget. The houses built in the 60's-70's make me worried that they'll have severe electrical/plumbing issues that I'll have to fix. The houses built in the 80's seem decent if they've been remodeled, but the prices are still ridiculously high.

I'm so nervous that the market will crash and we'll have to eat a $50k loss on the property when I'm transferred out of Mildand in a few years.

You can't trust apartment online reviews too much. I've used them for multiple cities in Texas, and the negatives have always outweight the positives. I just don't think most people are motivated enough to get online and review an apartment until they're pissed off about something. I lived in a little one bedroom apartment off of the loop called "The Clusters" and it was a really nice place, albeit older, with a helpful staff. I wouldn't have lived there if I had listened to the negative online reviews. If you stay on the northwest side of town and near the loop, most apartments seem pretty decent.

I don't know where you're coming from, but homes in Midland seemed quite comparable in price to other cities in Texas. It was rentals that seemed to be a little high, IMO.
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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True, apartment ratings do skew towards the negative online. They still seem like they're charging more for a 2 bedroom apartment in midland than they charge for a 2 bedroom fully upgraded apartment in Houston.

The houses still seem to be a bit pricey compared to Houston. We visited a 3 bedroom house built in the 1950's listed for $165k. The house hadn't been touched in terms of renovation.

We could build a brand new 4 bedroom house in the Legends Park subdivision for $180k, but it's located right next to the Rockhounds ball park and the football stadium. I'm worried I wouldn't be able to get in or out of that area during Fridays in the fall.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Issaquah & Snoqualmie, WA (Greater Seattle)
136 posts, read 171,194 times
Reputation: 115
Thread's a little old... but I'll add my 2 cents.

I lived in Midland for 15 years, and left in 2007. Over those years, I bought/sold 5 homes, of which all but one were new construction - and all but one were on the NW side, outside of Loop 250.

Yes... the market can go up/down. Since Midland tends to be quite transient due to the oil business, if you're going to buy, (which I'd recommend because the rental homes are awful in most cases - if there are any) be VERY particular about resale potential.

There have been A LOT of transient home builders too - which has caused a lot of new construction over the past 5 years to be of suspect quality and really poor design. So.. DON'T buy any home that has an "oddity" about it. Some quick examples...

- a bizarre or non-traditional floorplan
- a house that abuts a busy street
- a house that is next to a commercial/retail area
- a master-suite with a strange sitting area that makes no sense
- a house with somewhat unattractive brick
- something with "questionable" spec-home design choices concerning the tile, granite, cabinet stain, etc.

Because of the inevitable ups/downs in the Midland market (though it's having a great run), it's important the house have overall appeal to more buyers. Any of the above (obviously not an all inclusive list) can leave you on the market for months and months, and force you to accept a much lower price, should you need to sell in a market that's not so hot.

I never purchased a home in Midland without focusing on resale potential, and I never had a problem selling - even in the "busts."
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:40 AM
 
Location: Midland/Dallas
4,074 posts, read 4,133,597 times
Reputation: 2902
I'm a 36yr Midland Veteran,

Midland is a nice place to live if you're in the oil business. Work has been pretty strong for the last 5-8 yrs and doesn't seem to be slowing down. I'm no expert but I can see it continuing another 5-10 years. As for nursing, Midland Memorial Hospital is under going a major upgrade...something like 6 story addition? So you wife should be fine in that area.

As far as recreational, there is several lakes within 2hrs drive...warning, Texas hasn't had drop in rain since the stone age and lakes could be lower than normal.

Other places within driving distance:

Big Bend National Park
Monahanns Sand Hills
Cloud Croft NM (small mountain area with skiing)
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