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Old 06-10-2014, 04:18 PM
 
28 posts, read 30,879 times
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We're trying to decide whether to build a new home in the Lake Highlands area (near Skillman/Church) or stay in our current house in the Greenland Hills area of the M streets and add onto it. We have 2 small children and a baby so we definitely need more space than our current 2,000 sq ft house! The pros of staying put are that we love our M Streets neighborhood, can walk to many things, have a decent size backyard and would get to keep the great character of our 1920s house. Adding an upstairs with a few more bedrooms is no easy feat though and I'm nervous that once the construction starts, we will find many more things we need to repair. Not to mention the whole fam dam will have to move to temporary housing while the addition is being built (a good 4-5 months or so). And it's pretty costly.

The other option we're strongly considering is building a new house in Lake Highlands. The area we're looking at is in the 75231 zip code, near Lake Highlands High School and Mi Cocina, is zoned for RISD, and specifically Merriman Park Elementary. Our kids will be attending St. Thomas Aquinas, though wanted to give background on the area.

I'm wondering if others could give me insight into this part of Lake Highlands? Our budget is $625K. There are apartments nearby which is fine by me but wondering if there's a lot of crime in this area? I'm currently trying to sift through crime reports but think others' feedback will be helpful. Our realtor says crime is about the same there as in the M Streets. Will the high school traffic be an issue do you think? Is this a good place to raise a family? Thanks for any feedback!

Last edited by WestcoasterDFW; 06-10-2014 at 04:39 PM..
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Old 06-10-2014, 06:15 PM
 
Location: North Texas
24,577 posts, read 34,233,458 times
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I'd stay put and add to your existing house, but that's just me.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:18 PM
 
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Thanks, Big D. Can I ask the reasons you'd prefer to stay in M Streets House? Meant to mention the LH House would be in small, new community.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:25 PM
 
Location: North Texas
24,577 posts, read 34,233,458 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestcoasterDFW View Post
Thanks, Big D. Can I ask the reasons you'd prefer to stay in M Streets House? Meant to mention the LH House would be in small, new community.
Nicer area, better appreciation...since you send your kids to a private school, school quality is irrelevant. If I had that kind of coin to drop on a house, I'd do it in the M-Streets over Lake Highlands every time.

Plus I love the character of an older home.

That's just my opinion.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:38 PM
 
12,195 posts, read 23,105,871 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDGeek View Post
Nicer area, better appreciation...since you send your kids to a private school, school quality is irrelevant. If I had that kind of coin to drop on a house, I'd do it in the M-Streets over Lake Highlands every time.

Plus I love the character of an older home.

That's just my opinion.
I agree! No reason to up & move, especially since OP doesn't have to worry about schools until 9th grade. And even then they can continue with privates or apply to DISD magnets. Or move.

I prefer the charm and character of M Streets / Lower Greenville to the "suburbia in the city" vibe in LH. Plus, with schools off the table, that takes away the #1 reason someone would move to LH.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:39 PM
 
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Thanks for the feedback, Big D and Turtle Creek. I agree on character of the homes here in the M Streets. It's unique and very easy to love. I am growing a bit wary of having a 1920s house with a big family though- something always needs repair, very high utility bills in the winter and summer, small bathrooms, no storage space, no real play area for kids, etc. Of course adding an upstairs with more bedrooms would help but moving out and back in doesn't seem like a lot of fun either. Wondering if there's other areas of town I should be looking in? I love East Dallas and want to stay relatively close to St. Thomas Aquinas. Know that there's not a whole lot available with much space in my price range in Lakewood. Any insights into the crime rate in the area of LH I'm looking in or are there any other areas you can suggest?
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:50 PM
 
Location: North Texas
24,577 posts, read 34,233,458 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestcoasterDFW View Post
Thanks for the feedback, Big D and Turtle Creek. I agree on character of the homes here in the M Streets. It's unique and very easy to love. I am growing a bit wary of having a 1920s house with a big family though- something always needs repair, very high utility bills in the winter and summer, small bathrooms, no storage space, no real play area for kids, etc. Of course adding an upstairs with more bedrooms would help but moving out and back in doesn't seem like a lot of fun either. Wondering if there's other areas of town I should be looking in? I love East Dallas and want to stay relatively close to St. Thomas Aquinas. Know that there's not a whole lot available with much space in my price range in Lakewood. Any insights into the crime rate in the area of LH I'm looking in or are there any other areas you can suggest?
Well if you're adding a story to the house, how much more of a hassle would it be to gut the lower level to the studs and build it back out with energy-efficient features...or even tear down the house altogether and build something larger in the same style as the house you tore down? That way you don't even have to work with the existing house's layout and making it work with an addition. I bet you there's way more value in the land than the house anyway, so it might be worth considering.
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:45 AM
 
1,190 posts, read 2,198,239 times
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I would add-on to my home in the M-streets. (I live in Lakewood) We have considered moving, but there is no way I can find something similar (or better) in the same price range if we were to move. East Dallas, particularly M-Streets and Lakewood continue to appreciate and a larger home for you keeps you close to all of the things you enjoy. It doesn't hurt that you are probably in the Stonewall Elementary zone. (Even if you aren't planning to utilize it, it still makes your home desirable)

Think of the double move as an adventure. I am not sure your timing, but if you moved into an apartment, you would probably have a pool and some kind of playground. Think of not having to do lawn maintenance or anything for a few months!

Regarding your fear of finding something else to fix, just consider it a definite. Add a contingency into your budget to cover the "unknown."

Good luck!
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:56 AM
 
9,261 posts, read 9,892,948 times
Reputation: 7987
Quote:
Originally Posted by WestcoasterDFW View Post
We're trying to decide whether to build a new home in the Lake Highlands area (near Skillman/Church) or stay in our current house in the Greenland Hills area of the M streets and add onto it. We have 2 small children and a baby so we definitely need more space than our current 2,000 sq ft house! The pros of staying put are that we love our M Streets neighborhood, can walk to many things, have a decent size backyard and would get to keep the great character of our 1920s house. Adding an upstairs with a few more bedrooms is no easy feat though and I'm nervous that once the construction starts, we will find many more things we need to repair. Not to mention the whole fam dam will have to move to temporary housing while the addition is being built (a good 4-5 months or so). And it's pretty costly.

The other option we're strongly considering is building a new house in Lake Highlands. The area we're looking at is in the 75231 zip code, near Lake Highlands High School and Mi Cocina, is zoned for RISD, and specifically Merriman Park Elementary. Our kids will be attending St. Thomas Aquinas, though wanted to give background on the area.

I'm wondering if others could give me insight into this part of Lake Highlands? Our budget is $625K. There are apartments nearby which is fine by me but wondering if there's a lot of crime in this area? I'm currently trying to sift through crime reports but think others' feedback will be helpful. Our realtor says crime is about the same there as in the M Streets. Will the high school traffic be an issue do you think? Is this a good place to raise a family? Thanks for any feedback!
I'd lean towards adding to your existing home. That said you need to ask several questions - the wrong answer to any of them may be a deal killer.


Considerations.....
1. Is your existing foundation strong enough for a second floor addition? If not might it be enhanced at reasonable costs?
2. Find out if the city will issue permits to update your house in the first place - might there be some historical places/landmark hurdles you need to overcome?
3. Ask the city if they will require full electrical and plumbing updates to current code for the entire home? Either of those = big dollars.
4. Find out about asbestos r&r. You almost certainly have some in old covered house paint, insulation etc? It may or may not be a big problem to deal with.
5. You'd need a contractor who has tackled these issues previously.
6. It'd take 6/9 months to do all this and you'd need to be gone for most of that time.


Thinking about this some more.........start with numbers 2 and 3.
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX and Las Vegas, NV
6,207 posts, read 4,981,107 times
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Had a friend who tried to get Dallas city permits to make an addition to her M street house. Plans kept getting rejected. They sold. So do some research about the permitting process as you are making your evaluation.
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