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Old 07-12-2016, 04:43 PM
 
49 posts, read 54,575 times
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Hi Guys, I'm sorry if this info is already out there. I have searched a lot on some of the good areas of Dallas, but I wanted opinions of where people thought the best place to live would be for my needs.

I'm moving from Minnesota (very cold area) to Dallas (very hot), lol. One extreme to the other.

I hear I should live close to work since traffic is hell in Dallas, BUT, I won't be in only one location. I will have to travel to different areas of Dallas on different days for my job. I will be mostly in Irving, Arlington, and Plano. Once in a while I will need to be in Fort Worth.

I asked people at my job where the best place to live that is central to those areas and they mentioned Southlake. They did say Southlake also has one of the top school districts in Dallas.

I have a 5 yr old and 2 year old. Great public schools are VERY important to us. We don't feel like paying for private school. If we are gonna pay sky high property taxes in Texas we might as well get our monies worth and get great schools, no? Why pay 30K in taxes AND pay 30K for private school?

Any other areas with great public schools that would be an acceptable commute to Arlington, Irving, Plano?

We will be renting for the first year or so, then our home budget will be about 800k-1.3M.

I haven't heard much about Flower Mound, how are the schools? Commute times to Arlington, Irving, Plano?

What about Colleyville? It was voted the best suburb in Dallas but supposedly the "poor man's Southlake"?

Highland Park is uppity uppity but the best school district in Dallas? Also its more of an urban feel, correct? We really prefer suburban, almost rural feel.

We visited Heath / Rockwall and loved it there but it's way to far from our jobs. Although thoughts of living on the lake again sounds great. We are currently in Minnesota so basically everyone here has a lake home on the water.

We will be putting a ton of hours at work but we like to also play hard. We love outdoorsy things like hiking, biking, swimming and lake activities. I know Dallas isn't know for those things but we heard Austin is great for that stuff and only about a 3 hour drive?

Any advice on these areas would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-12-2016, 05:10 PM
 
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HP/UP and Southlake both have excellent public schools and are very safe, but are completely different from one another. Both school districts are unique in that the schools all funnel into one high school. Community school spirit is tremendous in both with families of all ages attending football games and other events throughout the year. Most people will have a strong preference for one over the other.


HP/UP:
Independent towns surrounded by the city of Dallas

5 minutes from downtown/uptown so great for someone who enjoys the arts and dining at all the new restaurants

$800k will get you a shack on a very busy street or a bigger condo or single-family attached home
$1.3M will get you an actual house that is either original but remodeled or some of the cheap new construction
Your lot size at either price point will not exceed 60x150 range

Tons and tons of kids! My friends live on a block in UP that has 60 kids living at home
Kids play freely in the neighborhood and ride their bikes everywhere. Fewer scheduled play dates and more spontaneous play

Charming "Main Street" area called Snider Plaza which is completely filled with locally owned shops & restaurants, many of which have been open for 40+ years

Exclusive HP Village shopping, home to Chanel, Harry Winston, Hermes, etc.

25% of land space set aside for public parks. Each town has a wonderful public pool.

Very, very wealthy. The average working person who owns a home is making $350k++. Range Rovers in every other driveway. Lots of stay at home moms. Close to half the kids go to expensive summer camps ($2000/week+ for 3-5 weeks).

Fairly religious. Most families attend HP Presby, Park Cities Presby, HP Methodist, UP Methodist, Park Cities Baptist, Watermark, St Michaels, or Christ the King.

Very social.

Variety of architecture and homes, ranging from original 1910's Craftsman cottages to stately 1920-1940's Colonials/Mediterranean/Tudors to a sprinkle of 1950s MCM's and ranches to the horrible 1980's box-style new construction to the even more horrible 1990's faux chateaus with turrets to an outstanding collection of 2000's modern, transitional and classic new custom homes.

Fully built out.
No subdivisions. No gates (unless you're Jerry Jones).
No HOAs




SOUTHLAKE:
Truly a suburb. (Technically a suburb of Fort Worth, not Dallas). No skyline in sight and a good ways out from both downtowns off-hours (prob 20 to FW and 25-30 into Dallas).

Very close to DFW airport. Convenient if you travel a lot.

$800k will get you a house that's about $200k above the average
$1.3M will get you a custom mansion on a bigger lot, maybe even an acre

Lots of kids but doesn't seem as dense as HP/UP

Town Square is the main spot, lots of nicer national chains like Anthropologie & J Crew, some local chain restaurants
Huge 6-lane roads divide the town. Lots of chains line the strip centers.

Little charm (IMO), but everything is new, clean, and pristine

I am not sure what kind of public parks there are. Mostly subdivisions or master-planned neighborhoods with their own trails, pools, clubs, etc

A mix of upper class money and truly wealthy money.

Religious- can't speak to this. It's still Texas so I'm sure there are a lot of big congregations out there!

Less variety of architecture. Most of Southlake was built since the 1980's so a mix of new construction (spec and custom). Not as sophisticated as HP/UP homes, in general

Still being built out. Could build from scratch if you wanted
Almost every home is in an HOA and some are pretty expensive
Almost every home is in a subdivision. Some have gates.
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Old 07-12-2016, 05:23 PM
 
2,070 posts, read 1,537,054 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bankingdom View Post

We will be putting a ton of hours at work but we like to also play hard. We love outdoorsy things like hiking, biking, swimming and lake activities. I know Dallas isn't know for those things but we heard Austin is great for that stuff and only about a 3 hour drive?

Any advice on these areas would be greatly appreciated!
Unfortunately, I can't help you with the school situation because I don't have kids. I can help you with the outdoor options. You don't have to drive all the way to Austin for lakes, biking, and swimming activities. There are a lot of big lakes in the DFW area. Some are better for swimming than others. Hiking can be done at the Cedar Ridge Preserve, about 20 min or so south of Downtown Dallas. It's nothing like the Appalachians or Rockies, but not too bad despite our relatively flat terrain. Your mileage may vary though. Some need more challenging terrain, so that's understandable. For more hilly terrain, parts of OK and AR are about a 2-3 hour drive.
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Old 07-12-2016, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Shady Drifter
2,444 posts, read 2,133,235 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bankingdom View Post
I haven't heard much about Flower Mound, how are the schools? Commute times to Arlington, Irving, Plano?
Flower Mound is fine - we've lived in Flower Mound or close to it for years. It's a bit older than Southlake, and the schools aren't as highly ranked (although still excellent compared to the area as a whole). Flower Mound will definitely give you more the suburban feel, and it's very convenient to Grapevine lake as well as a more rural locations.

I much prefer Flower Mound to Southlake - you'll get more house for the money, and while Flower Mound definitely skews towards upper middle class, in my experience it is not as materialistic as Southlake. The low end of your budget will buy a very, very nice house - you can probably get something close by or on the lake if you're so inclined.

Commute to all of the areas you mentioned will be pretty reasonable, depending on when you go. Arlington will be pretty far out from most anywhere you've mentioned, but the last time we went to Arlington, it took about 25 minutes to get there, so not too bad.

Of the areas you mentioned, Highland Park is obviously tops of the list in terms of houses, "niceness," schools, everything. But none of the areas are "bad" - each area has excellent-to-superb schools, a good family feel, and lots of family amenities. For that budget, I would come down for a few days and visit each area and see what you like. For instance, we looked at Colleyville but just didn't like the feel of it...nothing wrong with Colleyville, it just wasn't for us. I'm betting that if you come down and poke around for a few days, you'll be able to eliminate at least some of the areas on your list just due to the feel of the area.
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Old 07-12-2016, 06:22 PM
 
Location: Southlake. Don't judge me.
2,885 posts, read 4,075,404 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtleCreek80 View Post
HP/UP and Southlake both have excellent public schools and are very safe, but are completely different from one another. Both school districts are unique in that the schools all funnel into one high school. Community school spirit is tremendous in both with families of all ages attending football games and other events throughout the year. Most people will have a strong preference for one over the other.
TC80 is incredibly knowledgeable about DFW overall and HP/UP. I can fill in a couple bits about Southlake:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtleCreek80 View Post
SOUTHLAKE:
Truly a suburb. (Technically a suburb of Fort Worth, not Dallas). No skyline in sight and a good ways out from both downtowns off-hours (prob 20 to FW and 25-30 into Dallas).

Very close to DFW airport. Convenient if you travel a lot.

$800k will get you a house that's about $200k above the average
$1.3M will get you a custom mansion on a bigger lot, maybe even an acre

Lots of kids but doesn't seem as dense as HP/UP

Town Square is the main spot, lots of nicer national chains like Anthropologie & J Crew, some local chain restaurants
Huge 6-lane roads divide the town. Lots of chains line the strip centers.

Little charm (IMO), but everything is new, clean, and pristine

I am not sure what kind of public parks there are. Mostly subdivisions or master-planned neighborhoods with their own trails, pools, clubs, etc

A mix of upper class money and truly wealthy money.

Religious- can't speak to this. It's still Texas so I'm sure there are a lot of big congregations out there!

Less variety of architecture. Most of Southlake was built since the 1980's so a mix of new construction (spec and custom). Not as sophisticated as HP/UP homes, in general

Still being built out. Could build from scratch if you wanted
Almost every home is in an HOA and some are pretty expensive
Almost every home is in a subdivision. Some have gates.
As TC80 says, it's definitely a suburb, and less dense than Park Cities (the common name for HP/UP). Most restaurants and stores are chains.

There are a number of public parks there. Bob Jones park is a large one far north on Grapevine Lake - it has walking trails, an area where people can fish, and other normal amenities (soccer fields, baseball fields, etc.). Bicentennial Park is about a mile and a half west of Town Square, and has a ton of baseball fields and a tennis facility (I think the USTA has a tournament there). Also at Bicentennial Park is a center called "The Marq". Phase I is complete - it's a senior center and event facility. Phase II is being built, and that will have a large fitness center as well as some classrooms for programs and apparently some child watch facilities.

There are a number of large churches in the area. Gateway Church is probably the largest, and there's also White's Chapel. I'm sure there are a couple others.

As noted, Southlake isn't quite as affluent as Park Cities and is generally "newer" money (as well as construction). It's about 75% built out. There's a substantial amount of new construction going on. Very few of the subdivisions are gated, but there are a couple. A few houses and subdivisions date back to the 80's or earlier, but almost all were built starting in the 90's and the majority were probably built since 2000. There is certainly less architectural diversity than in Park Cities.

The main road running east-west is Southlake Blvd (FM 1709). It's 3 lanes each way and very busy, especially during rush hour.

If you care about sports, both HP and Southlake take them seriously, but Southlake is probably a little more football-crazy than HP. Yes, it's Texas, they're big on high school football down here.

Southlake is fairly materialistic and "keeping-up-with-the-Joneses"-ish. Actually, DFW as a whole has more of this than most cities. It's not everyone, but it's definitely a sizable chunk of people. Just be aware that your children will probably be encountering a bit of that at their school.

Regarding Flower Mound and Colleyville - we looked in Colleyville and thought we were going to buy there, but lucked into our house. Colleyville is (IMHO) a little prettier than Southlake. It's not quite as affluent and the shopping isn't quite as good, but you're adjacent to Southlake for the latter. Schools don't have quite as good of metrics, but that's almost certainly because the demographics of the student body aren't as universally affluent. Flower Mound also has excellent schools. Western Flower Mound is (for now, anyway) more "rural" in feel. However, given how quickly the Metroplex is growing, it may not stay that way for long.

We were the opposite of LeagleEagle - we liked Colleyville and didn't like the feel of Flower Mound. You really need to come down and visit places to see which one "speaks" to you. We can all list off the objective data, but the area that "feels right" is obviously subjective.

Grapevine is NE of Colleyville and E of Southlake, and also has some very nice areas. Most of Grapevine is in the same school district as Colleyville, but a small part is in the Carroll ISD (which predominantly serves Southlake).

As noted, at an 800K to 1.3MM price point, you have very few limits on your options, save in Highland Park. All of the noted suburbs are among the "best" in DFW. There are no bad choices in the lot.
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:44 PM
 
65 posts, read 64,382 times
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Many subdivisions in Southlake have ponds, I saw many parents and their kids fishing during weekends, but I think that's only for family fun and not for getting any edible fish...

Lake Grapevine is very close by, there's a paddle meetup group and they always do sunset paddling if you are interested.

Haven't found any water tubing place, that's what I miss from Austin.

Many people have road trip to New Mexico and Oklahoma for outdoor activities. If you want to go skiing, the best choice is to take a flight to Denver (<2hrs), tickets are not expensive either (<200 dollars/person). Both Southlake and Park Cities are close to airport (DFW/Lovefield)
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX and Las Vegas, NV
6,800 posts, read 5,668,295 times
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Coppell hands down
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:18 PM
 
12,449 posts, read 24,109,246 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveAussie View Post
Many subdivisions in Southlake have ponds, I saw many parents and their kids fishing during weekends, but I think that's only for family fun and not for getting any edible fish...

Lake Grapevine is very close by, there's a paddle meetup group and they always do sunset paddling if you are interested.

Haven't found any water tubing place, that's what I miss from Austin.

Many people have road trip to New Mexico and Oklahoma for outdoor activities. If you want to go skiing, the best choice is to take a flight to Denver (<2hrs), tickets are not expensive either (<200 dollars/person). Both Southlake and Park Cities are close to airport (DFW/Lovefield)
You actually can tube the Trinity River in Dallas. I have not done it, but know people who have.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:24 PM
 
3,818 posts, read 1,553,910 times
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Originally Posted by TurtleCreek80 View Post
Close to half the kids go to expensive summer camps ($2000/week+ for 3-5 weeks).

$2000/week summer camp? What are the field trips, Europe?
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by serger View Post
$2000/week summer camp? What are the field trips, Europe?
More like $1600/week....I thought they'd hit $2k but not yet! For that, your kid gets to spend 3 glorious weeks in the beautiful Texas Hill Country in an un-air conditioned cabin with 11 other girls. Not only will they enjoy 60+ year old camp traditions and learn how to sail/ shoot/ craft, they'll make lifelong friendships with the girls who will end up being their sorority sisters in the best houses at the University of Texas.

Or you can send your daughters to one of a few Hill Country camps that are more like finishing school for girls. They'll learn etiquette, enjoy the comfort of air conditioning and maids, and also make lifelong friendships with the girls who end up being their sorority sisters in the best houses at the University of Texas.

Europe is where the parents go while the kids are at camp
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