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Old 06-28-2012, 11:45 AM
 
41 posts, read 111,188 times
Reputation: 14

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Hello all...

I've been reading this forum for a week now, since my job will be moved to either downtown Dallas or Richardson. Currently lives in east bay (California) with my wife and two kids (age 4 and 1). I have many questions, and need your help to get some answers. Many threads have answered my questions, yet i still have a few. Thanks in advance.

1. Are all freeways in Dallas area toll? Which ones are toll? How do we pay if we are using a rental car?
2. Been searching for a good school area... and found west allen, west plano, and frisco. Our favorite is currently west allen (west of 75)? anyone lives in this area? how is it? (i know it's a broad question)
3. How do they compare (west allen, west plano and frisco)?
4. We are looking for a new home (to save the energy bill) with a budget around $350k. However, only found 1 or 2 in Plano, less than 8 in west Allen, and many in Frisco. I read several threads about a no-no for Grand Homes? Which builders are good (terms or new and resale value)? since new construction is very limited in west allen. How about Pulte, First Texas Homes, Highland and Drees?
5. Is it a good idea to buy an inventory homes? and how low can we offer from the asking price? e.g for $400K home, can we offer $350K?
6. What energy saving features should we look for a new house?
7. How's the traffic on 75 from allen to either Richardson or Downton Dallas during the commute hours? what time is the best to avoid traffic?
8. Which electricity, gas and water company would you recommend?
9. What things that we need to consider to live there?
10. For anyone that was coming from CA, which moving company will you recommend? and how much is the estimate cost?

I heard many wonderful thing about Texas and Texans... and looking forward to be one. Thanks again!
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:22 PM
 
4,375 posts, read 4,719,334 times
Reputation: 4985
1) No. On the side of DFW you are considering, the George Bush Tollway (190), Dallas North Tollway , and Sam Rayburn (121) are tolled. The rest are free.
2) It's fine.
3) Basically all the same. middle to upper middle class suburbia.
4) can't help
5) can't help
6) proper insulation (spray foam if possible), zoned A/C, living room windows & backyard to the south would be my recommendation.
7) Allen to Richardson is no big deal. To downtown I'd shoot myself in the face if I had to do that daily. It would be about 45mins of stop and go between 7:30-9:30am & 4:30-6:00pm, assuming no accidents. There is also a Dart Light Rail train that runs parallel to 75; it also takes 40 mins to get downtown, but at least you can do other things.
8) Gas & water you have no choice. Atmos is gas and city provides water. No opinion on electricity, even though there are many choices the rates are pretty similar.
9) Are you ok with the heat/weather and terrain differences & lack of ocean? Outdoor activity opportunity will be markedly different and generally less than the East Bay.
10) My wife used a POD. Not cheap but was easy.

Last edited by TheOverdog; 06-28-2012 at 12:32 PM..
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:46 PM
 
690 posts, read 1,572,066 times
Reputation: 539
In addition to your personal questions, have you had an opportunity to check out the forums
<< Relocation Information Index>>.
It may also have some quick answers to some of your questions that may arise.

To answer one or two of your questions, If the house you get does not have sun screens, I would look into purchasing
some additional screens for the windows. It helps cut down the direct sun entering through your windows and adds to the viewing privacy.

Traffic on 75 can get heavy at any time of the day or night, depends on traffic, weather, or construction.


Electricity: Power to Choose: Compare Offers Now
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,864 posts, read 60,128,391 times
Reputation: 19257
Any major car rental company has toll tags on the car. You get a bill a few weeks later; last time they put it on my credit card.

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Old 06-28-2012, 01:43 PM
 
Location: North Texas
24,571 posts, read 35,679,726 times
Reputation: 28464
Quote:
Originally Posted by gogo542 View Post
Hello all...

I've been reading this forum for a week now, since my job will be moved to either downtown Dallas or Richardson. Currently lives in east bay (California) with my wife and two kids (age 4 and 1). I have many questions, and need your help to get some answers. Many threads have answered my questions, yet i still have a few. Thanks in advance.

1. Are all freeways in Dallas area toll? Which ones are toll? How do we pay if we are using a rental car?
2. Been searching for a good school area... and found west allen, west plano, and frisco. Our favorite is currently west allen (west of 75)? anyone lives in this area? how is it? (i know it's a broad question)
3. How do they compare (west allen, west plano and frisco)?
4. We are looking for a new home (to save the energy bill) with a budget around $350k. However, only found 1 or 2 in Plano, less than 8 in west Allen, and many in Frisco. I read several threads about a no-no for Grand Homes? Which builders are good (terms or new and resale value)? since new construction is very limited in west allen. How about Pulte, First Texas Homes, Highland and Drees?
5. Is it a good idea to buy an inventory homes? and how low can we offer from the asking price? e.g for $400K home, can we offer $350K?
6. What energy saving features should we look for a new house?
7. How's the traffic on 75 from allen to either Richardson or Downton Dallas during the commute hours? what time is the best to avoid traffic?
8. Which electricity, gas and water company would you recommend?
9. What things that we need to consider to live there?
10. For anyone that was coming from CA, which moving company will you recommend? and how much is the estimate cost?

I heard many wonderful thing about Texas and Texans... and looking forward to be one. Thanks again!

IMHO the only realistic commute option you have is Allen to Richardson. Frisco to downtown would suck, but it may be even worse Frisco to Richardson because you'd be stuck on 190 or 635. Same with west Plano, though to a lesser extent.

If you're going to work downtown with your budget, I'd check out Lake Highlands. If you're going to be working in Richardson, look at Richardson itself. If you're looking to save energy costs with a new home (and you won't save as much as you think you will), why not save on gasoline instead and live 20 miles closer to work?
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:57 PM
 
16,092 posts, read 37,997,787 times
Reputation: 6304
If the poster is from California, maybe 2 hours on the freeway is no big deal.
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:41 PM
 
12,451 posts, read 24,165,831 times
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Allen to downtown Dallas (like, really downtown not just Dallas south of 635) can take 60+ minutes in rush hour. It's prob 20-30 min to Richardson. Reason being, your only route is 75 which is slower moving and has more 18 wheelers since its free. It took my coworker over an hour to get from Allen (by the outlets on Stacey Road) to NorthPark Mall (which is about 15 min north of downtown in rush hour) last week. And there wasn't even a wreck.

Frisco will be about 40-60 minutes with no wrecks via the tollroads to both downtown and Richardson. Richardson is cross-town from Frisco which probably equates to about 15 min less drive than all the way to downtown.

West Plano is a MUCH better commute (30-45 minutes via north Dallas Tollroad ) AND has significantly better schools than both Allen and Frisco (based on SAT's and AP's which are the best indicators of college prep). However, you won't find a new home for $350k in West Plano zoned to Plano Schools. (School districts don't follow city borders here so never assume a home in one city is zoned to that city's ISD. Always verify schools for the address). You will find homes for $350k they'll just be 15-30 years old.


Honestly, I would either look in Richardson east of 75 (Plano schools with a lot of newer homes), Far north Dallas in Plano schools, or Richardson itself. Pearce is an excellent high school- ranks smack between the 3 Plano ISD high schools and in the top 10 in the DFW area. Assuming you're moving from Cali for better quality of life (among other things) so embrace the city where your job is located and enjoy having a 15 min max "door to office" commute!!




As far as what you can offer for a home these days, you MUST hook up with a buyer's agent who is an EXPERT in the suburbs & neighborhoods where your search is focused. The DFW market is ALL over the place right now- some areas are seeing multiple, full price offers and even bidding wars on well-priced homes within hours of hitting the market. Other areas are chugging along with a decent rate of sale and increase to LY prices. Other areas are still declining and even battling foreclosures. Less than 20% of DFW homes are currently "underwater" and the market since Jan 1 has been significantly improved to LY in many areas. So there really isn't a "hard & fast" rule regarding what % of list to offer. Be assured the market is likely healthier than from where you're moving. Also be warned that home sales prices aren't public record in TX and therefore Zillow and tax appraisal values don't reflect the current market prices at all. Don't even look at Zillow.

The rental market is SUPER hot in almost every area so if you are considering renting a home be ready to move very quickly or lose your chance for that property. I listed a condo last fall and had 7 showings in 24 hours. One of those people rented it. Went into the MLS as sold at 0 DOM. Not uncommon AT ALL right now.

Last edited by TurtleCreek80; 06-28-2012 at 02:52 PM..
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:46 PM
 
41 posts, read 111,188 times
Reputation: 14
Thanks everyone for commenting and suggesting. The reason we are looking further north is the schoold districts. And yes here in bay area CA, driving 30-45 mins is kinda normal

I will look Richardson and Lake Highlands. Thanks.

One other thing that i should mention is that my work hours are flexible and able to telecomute (work from home) twice/three times a week. If we start start driving around 6:30, will it be traffic still?

Thanks again.
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:58 PM
 
12,451 posts, read 24,165,831 times
Reputation: 11649
Quote:
Originally Posted by gogo542 View Post
Thanks everyone for commenting and suggesting. The reason we are looking further north is the schoold districts. And yes here in bay area CA, driving 30-45 mins is kinda normal

I will look Richardson and Lake Highlands. Thanks.

One other thing that i should mention is that my work hours are flexible and able to telecomute (work from home) twice/three times a week. If we start start driving around 6:30, will it be traffic still?

Thanks again.

West Plano schools are worth living north for. Allen, McKinney, and Frisco are not (compared to Richardson JJ Pearce HS and Richardson HS). Lake Highlands is a nice area but lots of lower income apartments now feed into the middle and high schools and the quality has definitely declined in the past decade.

Dallas-area-schools.blogspot.com is a great resource for all things about the area schools. The blogger posts almost every article from the area papers regarding SAT scores, National Merit Semi-Finalists, AP pass rates, demographics, national rankings, state rankings & stats for the 110+ area high schools.
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:27 PM
 
41 posts, read 111,188 times
Reputation: 14
Thanks Turtle for details info. Really appreciate it. I just checked on Moderator cut: see comment Richardson doesn't really have new homes. There are several in Plano.

I understand that Plano and Allen have Recognized rating for their district, and Frisco has Exemplary. And i can see it in Moderator cut: see comment that not all plano and allen have 9/10 schools (only the west part has 9/10 ratings school). In Frisco the majority of schools are 9/10. Do the Recongnized or Exemplary ratings has direct corralation with the SAT scores, pass rate, rankings?

As far as builders goes, which one do you recommend in Plano area? I understand that there is not much new development there.

Thanks.

Last edited by BstYet2Be; 06-28-2012 at 05:57 PM.. Reason: Per TOS, no specific real estate company, broker or agent name or website can be posted in forum.
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