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Old 02-10-2013, 04:14 PM
 
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Hello,


My husband and I are moving to Dallas from SF. We are looking at the Park Cities and Preston Hollow for our first home. I am looking for insight as to which areas/parts of each area would be best for our family.

We are 29/32 and have three boys, twins who are 2 years old and a newborn. I would like to move ASAP because our family has outgrown our apartment, but we are willing to wait for the “right” house, at least until the twins need to be enrolled in pre-school.

*Lot: We would prefer a larger lot size where the boys could run around, but it need not be an acreage.


*Schools: We like the idea of no tuition in HPISD, especially since we are open to having more children (daddy’s little girl), and not having to worry about what to do if the boys aren’t admitted to St. Mark’s.

*Social: I am very social and would like to meet other moms. The twins seem to approach every child to play. I’d like to enroll them in community sports leagues. My husband tells me that HPISD is “socially competitive” and that worries him.

*Proximity to Errands: The less driving I have to do to grocery/school/sports, the better; I much prefer walking. Also, his parents would watch the children occasionally, so a reasonably convenient distance to them (Walnut Hill/Tollway) would be nice.

*House: Traditional. My husband deplores houses with vaulted ceilings, turrets, stucco, etc.

He prefers PH and has somewhat of an informational advantage over me in that he grew up in Plano then PH, while I am from SoCal. Could you help me bridge that gap or perhaps even convince me one way or the other? Thank you!
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Old 02-10-2013, 04:21 PM
 
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3 boys= $60k+ a year in tuition unless you do a Dallas magnet. That kills any savings on a home likely. Now if DH just needs a huge lot- PH is a better fit.
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Old 02-10-2013, 04:42 PM
 
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I would definitely recommend Park Cities for schools and community feeling. Not sure what you mean by a larger lot, but you would certainly get a larger lot in PH. My top choice in your situation would be University Park, between Preston and Hillcrest and ideally near Hyer elementary. Not because it's better than the others (they are all good and we go to a different school)...just because that is the area that has "larger" lots (larger lots = 70x160) that can still be under 2M and because Hyer is next door to a wonderful preschool so ideally you could walk to both. Also the moms in that area seemed to us to be more in your age group. We recently relocated here and are 10+ years older than you and we chose Highland Park, and are thrilled. The HP demographic seems to be a little bit older (like us) and we can still walk to school and shops, but our lot is a little smaller than the ones we looked at up that area. Good luck!
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:05 PM
 
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As for the backyard thing- kids in Park Cities tend to play in the front yard. You'll see lacrosse nets, soccer goals, swings in the FRONT yard. (you may see lawn furniture too, but I digress). The big backyard is more a red herring as it's usually too hot to just be in the sun. An enclosed porch is a nice compromise.

PH can be isolated. The lots are huge. The kids usually go to private schools- different private schools. You just don't see armies of kids running around PH like you do in UP/HP.

Also- Park Cities has alot closer stops, eateries and if you wish, you can fall into the 'bubble-life' easily where you only leave the city limits to hit North Park.

PC is a wealthy enclave, so is PH. No way around that. But (and maybe I've been here for too long) it becomes background after a while. You'll see really nice cars and women dashing around in Chanel but it's mostly alot of folks with a ton of kids raising them in the heart of the city.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:23 PM
 
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I'd go Park Cities over PH in your situation for several reasons:

1. The Park Cities has more of a singular community feel as 80%+ families have their kids enrolled in HPISD. Your kids will likely go to pre- school, K-12, church, Y sports, etc with the kids in your neighborhood. It really fuels the community bond and it starts at birth with each elementary school having an early childhood association for families with kids aged newborn to Pre-K. There are both kid- and adult-oriented activities and events each month so the social network is building even before school starts. additionally, the many parks and town pools for both HP and UP are fabulous community assets.

Preston Hollow is a different vibe- most kids go to private schools, but they are scattered amongst 10-15 of them (especially for lower school) so the neighborhood kids are all going in different directions for school, sports, and other activities. It also seems to be more of a "play in the backyard" or "go to the country club to swim / play/ etc" place than the Park Cities. I think it would be harder to be plugged into your neighborhood there and you would use kids' school, your church, etc as your social web vs your street. Not a bad thing- just very different than the Park Cities.

2. Schools. Unless you're loaded wih exceptionally brilliant and well-rounds toddlers, there is no guarantee they will be admitted to private schools on caliber with HPISD- or all accepted to the same school. Do you want to be dropping off at Good Shephard and the driving north to drop the other one off at Greenhill? It could happen. Also, the general rule of thumb is that 2 kids is the "breakeven" point for weighing HPISD v PH/Dallas + private schools. 3 kids is solidly in HPISD's favor as that $70-75k+ private school annual tuition would pay for a $2M HPISD home's $32k peppery tax bill and still leave $40k in your pocket.

3. Everything else on your list ( errands, house styles, schools, social, etc) is readily found in the Park Cities. As for the social competition, if you can afford an average price point home ($1.2-1.5M) without scraping by, it's unlikely you'll feel competition because your lifestyle / income probably resembles the "norm". If you'll have to cancel all vacations in the near future and not be able to buy any furniture for a $800k entry level cottage- yes, you'll probably feel like a "have not" even though no one will be condescending towards you (it will just come out in the, "no, we can't afford to go on a double date with you to Hibiscus ($200/ couple dinner)" or "no, jr can't go skiing with your family ($400 airfare + ski clothes))". Make sense?

Agree with the poster who said Hyer moms are younger. Hyer and UP seem to have more younger moms and SAHM's than Bradfield & Armstrong (my 36 & 42 year old friends with a Kindergartnerer there are among the younger end of parents this year, fwiw).
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:45 PM
 
Location: Simmering in DFW
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Park Cities hands down
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:46 PM
 
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One more piece of advice from a recent transplant...regardless of whether you end up in PC or PH, if you want your 2 year olds in school next fall, definitely apply now. We lucked out getting our preschooler in mid-year but everyone I've spoken to was shocked to hear that. And she is and "old" preschooler, which is a little easier to get in than a 2 year old.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:18 PM
 
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I agree that PC/HP is a better choice.

Where will you and your husband work?

A job at Legacy and a home in PC would not be a fun commute.

And real estate taxes on a 1 million dollar home is not cheap when you can get the same home in Plano or Coppell for half the money AND be closer to work.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TX75007 View Post
I agree that PC/HP is a better choice.

Where will you and your husband work?

A job at Legacy and a home in PC would not be a fun commute.

And real estate taxes on a 1 million dollar home is not cheap when you can get the same home in Plano or Coppell for half the money AND be closer to work.
I'd imagine the job would be Dallas-based from the PH/PC differential.

However PC has some of the lowest property taxes in the area (made up by being more expensive homes albeit).

But you are correct- if you work near Coppell or Plano - a larger home there would be likely at a much lower price. The east vs west Plano may be a harginger of sorts as well.

But the 'more house for the money' is a fallacy. You're always trading something. It's the old size, price, location/school triangle. You can get any two but you always give up something.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TX75007 View Post

A job at Legacy and a home in PC would not be a fun commute.
Actually, that's not true. It's a 15-20 minute drive in rush hour, depending on if they get on at Mockingbird or Northwest Hwy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TX75007 View Post
And real estate taxes on a 1 million dollar home is not cheap when you can get the same home in Plano or Coppell for half the money AND be closer to work.
Actually, taxes on a $500k home in Coppell run over $12k a year and taxes on a $1M HPISD home are $16k (vs $24k for a $1M home in Coppell). Coppell has some of the highest property tax rates around, plus less attractive homestead exemptions (20% county, 5% city, 0% ISD) vs HPISD's full 20% exemption across all three buckets.

Might as well live in the more central location with a smaller district (especially compared to Plano ISD) with one of the lowest tax rates around. Plus, this couple had an aversion to turrets which will knock out most of Coppell and Plano's housing stock
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