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Old 06-11-2014, 07:59 AM
 
1,190 posts, read 2,198,591 times
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If you don't already have a contractor, I recommend reaching out to Burke & Assoc. They do alot of work in this area and can help you navigate the permitting questions.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:28 AM
 
1,212 posts, read 1,925,608 times
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Both areas are nice and LH certainly wins if you think you may some day need public schools (you never know). I love the M Street area and would probably lean there, but I would consider the following factors:

1) where will my kids' friends live (an underrated factor);
2) commute to work;
3) might I need public school somewhere in the future?;
4) property taxes;
5) resell value;
6) utilities (might go down with a new house, even if bigger);
7) would I ever want a pool;
8) Where do our friends live (don't underestimate this factor)?
9) would I ever want a 3 car garage? (assuming you have a 2 car garage);
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Dallas
578 posts, read 1,293,633 times
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My parents live near that area of Lake Highlands...not very nice at all! Add on to your M-Streets house if possible...much nicer area for young kids to play and better resale value down the road.
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
58 posts, read 54,387 times
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The Merriman Park area of Lake Highlands is really nice. The worst part about it is probably the apartments on Skillman (which you would be right next to). There isn't much real crime, more just crimes of opportunity similar to M-Streets. With a 625K budget I probably wouldn't pick the new suburbia looking development right there at Skillman and Church. It definitely would be a big change from the character of the 1920s M-Streets. I would look at some of the completely renovated houses in the White Rock area if I was going to move to Lake Highlands. Lake Highlands is wonderful community with so many young families.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:32 AM
 
12,196 posts, read 23,110,799 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dallasbred View Post
The Merriman Park area of Lake Highlands is really nice. The worst part about it is probably the apartments on Skillman (which you would be right next to). There isn't much real crime, more just crimes of opportunity similar to M-Streets. With a 625K budget I probably wouldn't pick the new suburbia looking development right there at Skillman and Church. It definitely would be a big change from the character of the 1920s M-Streets. I would look at some of the completely renovated houses in the White Rock area if I was going to move to Lake Highlands. Lake Highlands is wonderful community with so many young families.
Agreed. $625k is on the high end for LH. I'd be looking in the neighborhood on the north side of Flagpole Hill; it's the prettiest one in LH, IMO.
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Old 06-11-2014, 04:06 PM
 
28 posts, read 30,890 times
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A lot of good info from everyone, thank you. And some good questions to think about, HockDad. A little bit more background- DH works in Las Colinas. Our friends are spread all throughout Dallas, many are in East Dallas, some in HP, some in Northwest so pretty much everywhere. I'm thinking school friends will mainly be in Lakewood/LH/M Streets. In answer to question #6, we would go from $500/month in utility bills in the winter to $150, or so says the builder.

I feel like I've been running into a lot of mixed opinions on the Merriman Park area, as seen above. One poster thinks it's really nice and the next one thinks not at all. Am really torn and wondering if I just need to spend more time driving around, looking through crime stats, articles in local publications like the Advocate. Will the new Town Center close by help with making the area nicer (if it's ever built out)?

Would love to consider Lakewood but feel like there is just nothing available with any decent amount of space for 625K. I'll check out the north side of Flagpole Hill. What other areas are good for young families? Old Lake Highlands? Pebble Creek?
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
591 posts, read 446,214 times
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One possible area to consider is the University Meadows (I think it's called) area in East Dallas. Roughly bounded by Skillman on the West, Abrams on the East, Lovers on the north, and the DART rail on the south.

The homes are little bigger than most of the other East Dallas areas, they are mostly 4/3/2, 2500-3000 sq. ft. ranch houses on .25 acre lots.

It is really more of a $400-$500k neighborhood rather than your price range, but it's a nice neighborhood and convenient to STA and the other areas you probably spend a lot of time now. The downside to that neighborhood is that it is in the Rogers/Hillcrest feeder so public schools are probably not an option.

The White Rock Valley area that TC80 notes is a very nice neighborhood.

All of the above are a pretty long commute to Las Colinas, but similar to the M-Streets or Merriman Park options.
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:13 AM
 
Location: Yankee loves Dallas
567 posts, read 814,439 times
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What about the various neighborhoods that are north of Mockingbird, but still within Lakewood/Stonewall attendance zones? That would be kind of a compromise, in between the M Streets and Lake Highlands along most of the dimensions being discussed (price, convenient location, schools, not in a historic district).

Another advantage of the White Rock Elementary area is that it's close to Northwest Highway... Not that going from East Dallas to Las Colinas is fun, but, if it must be done, IMO Northwest Highway is about the best way to do it.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:07 AM
 
12,196 posts, read 23,110,799 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Benjamin View Post
What about the various neighborhoods that are north of Mockingbird, but still within Lakewood/Stonewall attendance zones? That would be kind of a compromise, in between the M Streets and Lake Highlands along most of the dimensions being discussed (price, convenient location, schools, not in a historic district).
A $600k range house is still $100-250k above the average homes in the north of mockingbird area. In the neighborhoods zoned to Jackson & Lakewood elementaries, OP isn't going to find a 4 BR / 3000+ sf home (which I assume is the approx size they are considering taking the M Streets home to). People just aren't doing massive reno's in these areas yet; it's more starter homes (2-2's and 3-2's, almost all under 2000sf).

The area north of dart / south of Lovers between Abrams and Skillman is a larger home area and under $500k, but zoned to Rogers Elem AND the homes are all built on 1960's slabs. Great neighborhood but I would never buy one of those slabs. Plus the immediate surrounding area totally lacks the charm of M Streets.

OP should first find out permit restrictions in her current neighborhood, then revisit options. People have been taking those homes to the studs & remodeling for years now so there has to be a way to accomplish the reno. Think the key is to not alter the home's facade much.
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
58 posts, read 54,387 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestcoasterDFW View Post
A lot of good info from everyone, thank you. And some good questions to think about, HockDad. A little bit more background- DH works in Las Colinas. Our friends are spread all throughout Dallas, many are in East Dallas, some in HP, some in Northwest so pretty much everywhere. I'm thinking school friends will mainly be in Lakewood/LH/M Streets. In answer to question #6, we would go from $500/month in utility bills in the winter to $150, or so says the builder.

I feel like I've been running into a lot of mixed opinions on the Merriman Park area, as seen above. One poster thinks it's really nice and the next one thinks not at all. Am really torn and wondering if I just need to spend more time driving around, looking through crime stats, articles in local publications like the Advocate. Will the new Town Center close by help with making the area nicer (if it's ever built out)?

Would love to consider Lakewood but feel like there is just nothing available with any decent amount of space for 625K. I'll check out the north side of Flagpole Hill. What other areas are good for young families? Old Lake Highlands? Pebble Creek?
I live in the M-Streets/Lakewood area right now and grew up in Lake Highlands, where my parents still live. The only thing not nice about Merriman Park is the apartments on Skillman. The town center would definitely help, but as you said, if it ever happens. There is still interest in tearing down the apartments on Skillman so I think it will still continue to improve without the town center. That being said, I still wouldn't live in the new development at Skillman and Church, just because of aesthetics.

Pebble Creek is very nice and 625K is the right budget for that neighborhood for a great house. Oak Highlands is the nicest neighborhood near Merriman Park with houses probably around 500-900K. Beautiful streets and lots of trees. In my opinion, those areas of Lake Highlands are more put together as a whole with way less traffic and random crime than the M-Streets.

White Rock (the north side of Flag Pole Hill) is the most popular area in Lake Highlands because White Rock is one of the best elementary schools in Dallas. It also has hills and trees and is very convenient to Northwest Hwy, White Rock Lake, and of course Flag Pole Hill.

Most of my friends have moved back to either Merriman Park or White Rock and their kids still run freely and ride their bikes every day with no mention of crime. That being said, I adore Lakewood and don't know if I could ever leave. Also, for what it's worth, I think the drive to Las Colinas is much easier from Lake Highlands.
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