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Old 06-12-2008, 10:49 PM
 
6 posts, read 14,034 times
Reputation: 10

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Well I have to confess I have been lurking on this site for almost 2 years! My husband and i live in NYC and we are ready to move on. We are looking for a change of pace, warmer weather, friendly people(we are originally from the midwest and can't take anymore of this new york attitude) normal cost of living, a place where we can have children and actual space for them, and a suburban feel but near a big city with culture. We decided on the Dallas area and took a very brief visit for the first time last winter. Thanks to this board i felt like i knew the place when we were there. Anyway i still have questions and concerns and hope you can answer some.

1) we are looking at neighborhoods north of dallas (my husband will be working from home and i will probably be working in north plano) for a family size house 4 bed with a pool and lawn in the back for about 300k$ also we would like to be in a diverse area with a jewish population. we are looking to get away from the tight claustrophobia feeling we have in nyc so a neighborhood with larger lots and mature trees would be great. also we plan to have children so a good school district is important. Any suggestions?

2) right now we are making close to 200k salary nyc and are living paycheck to paycheck in a tiny place with no money left to go out to dinners, shopping, travel etc...and we don't even have car payments, gas prices, or children,to pay for!! in moving to dallas it seems like we will have to take a big pay cut. so what kind of salary do you need to have in dallas to have a good quality of life? we are not sure how to negotiate this with our employers.

3) we are concerned that we will be the only jews in our town. Is there a lot of prejudice against jews? i know dallas is part of the bible belt so i am concerned. will our future kid be the only jew in his class? in his school? will we have to drive an hour to find a synnogogue or kosher food. I have seen some posts on here regarding this but never from an actual jewish person's perspective on living in the area....anybody??

4) as new yorker i hate to admit it but i do not have a drivers liscense. the process to get one here is very difficult. would it make more sense to wait until i get to dallas to get one? what is the system like? do i take drivers ed?

ok sorry for the long post and i'm sure i'll have more... but thank you all. I feel like i know you guys and all the postive info i've gotten from this board has really helped us to make our move the big D!!!
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:34 PM
 
288 posts, read 1,140,123 times
Reputation: 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycgirl2dfw View Post
1) we are looking at neighborhoods north of dallas (my husband will be working from home and i will probably be working in north plano) for a family size house 4 bed with a pool and lawn in the back for about 300k$ also we would like to be in a diverse area with a jewish population. we are looking to get away from the tight claustrophobia feeling we have in nyc so a neighborhood with larger lots and mature trees would be great. also we plan to have children so a good school district is important. Any suggestions?
Sounds like Lake Highlands or Richardson.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycgirl2dfw View Post
2) right now we are making close to 200k salary nyc and are living paycheck to paycheck in a tiny place with no money left to go out to dinners, shopping, travel etc...and we don't even have car payments, gas prices, or children,to pay for!! in moving to dallas it seems like we will have to take a big pay cut. so what kind of salary do you need to have in dallas to have a good quality of life?
There's no state income tax in TX, and certainly no city income tax in the area. They make up for it by taxing everything else, including groceries. Cars, and their upkeep, are going to be the ungainly expense. You could bicycle, but the locals still don't deal well with pedestrians. Nobody walks in LA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycgirl2dfw View Post
we are not sure how to negotiate this with our employers.
I let them go first, and if the offer is something I can live with, I don't want to quibble. That's probably one of the reasons I'm known as a pushover.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycgirl2dfw View Post
3) we are concerned that we will be the only jews in our town.
Are you kidding? As with every city and suburb in the country, there's one in every neighborhood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycgirl2dfw View Post
Is there a lot of prejudice against jews?
Very much the opposite. Nobody cares.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycgirl2dfw View Post
i know dallas is part of the bible belt so i am concerned. will our future kid be the only jew in his class? in his school?
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycgirl2dfw View Post
will we have to drive an hour to find a synnogogue or kosher food.
No. There's a large population and a lot of synagogues (which are all over, but there are even more in North Dallas). Every grocer in the region is going to at least have a kosher aisle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycgirl2dfw View Post
4) as new yorker i hate to admit it but i do not have a drivers liscense. the process to get one here is very difficult. would it make more sense to wait until i get to dallas to get one? what is the system like? do i take drivers ed?
That's an interesting question; Texans take drivers ed in high school.
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:37 PM
 
Location: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
4,198 posts, read 14,410,116 times
Reputation: 2681
Hello there,

You cracked me up about not having a driver's license. I only got mine when I was in my mid 20s... I grew up overseas between europe and the mideast and never needed to learn how to drive... they do have classes for adults at driving schools, or your husband can teach you. Here is a link to "rules of the road" in Texas. That's the first stop. If you go with a driving school the cost is only about $400.
Texas DMV Manuals - Download the TX Drivers License Manual Online - DMV.ORG click on the 104 page handbook.

Next, you may want to try a salary comparison/cost of living chart to see how much you want to negotiate. I think that overall the cost of living is about 25% cheaper imo.

One of the appealing factors about Dallas is that it's very diverse. There are people from all over the globe. Most large store chains have a section for kosher food. Places of worship around. check The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and Dallas Virtual Jewish Community Main. There are also whole foods, sprouts that carry many foods that are Kosher and then there are many stores centrally located in the Richardson area that cater to the people that prefer kosher food.

In regards to a place to live in North Dallas, let me suggest Plano, Murphy, Allen, Richardson, Frisco and Carrollton. I just did a quick search in the MLS for 4 beds with pool in these cities up to 300K and came up with almost 200. Of course that would be narrowed down based on your specific needs. So you will have many to choose from.

Naima
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:36 AM
 
6,578 posts, read 24,182,127 times
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There are a lot of Jewish folks in the JJ Pearce High (Richardson ISD) attendance zone, specifically around Parkhill Jr. High. There are Kosher grocery stores in the area also, along Coit. The Jewish high school is in North Dallas near Medical City (near Coit, north of Forest). There are quire a few Jewish private schools that go to 8th grade. One is next to the Jewish high school. Another is in Plano on Hillcrest near Frankford. My child is in an independent private school for dyslexic kids and he went to 6 Bar/Bat Mitzvahs this past year of fellow students. My point is there are plenty of Jewish folks here. There are numerous synagogues.
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Lewisville
212 posts, read 1,107,496 times
Reputation: 133
In terms of Jewishness, it's not like NYC, but you shouldn't be worried about being the only ones. DFW is a very diverse area- in my neighborhood I think white Christians are actually in the minority.
Dallas has a pretty big JCC, and this website might be helpful in finding synagogues, kosher food, and other items of Jewish interest in the Dallas area: The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:07 PM
 
6 posts, read 14,034 times
Reputation: 10
Hi all,
Thanks for your replies!

Many of the cities you recommended were on my list but when I do some online searches it seems that most of those do not have much yard space in my price range. The houses seem built right on top of each other and the pool takes up the whole backyard. Any neighborhoods that may offer more outdoor space?

Also when we visited last winter we met with some very distant cousins for the first time who live in far north dallas. We mentioned looking in frisco and allen and they went nuts. They said it was the "stix" and we'd be the only jews up there. I can not find any synnogogues or jewish schools, kosher restaurant etc..online in those towns. Most everything seems to centered around the one area. Can anyone speak to those two cities in particular. When we visited we really liked the feeling up there, especially in allen.

(Blosmtx thanks for the website)

For a drivers license I do know how to drive as i grew up in the midwest(alothough its been many years since then) but would i have to prove it to get a tx license? is there a road test if not a required class?

ctrres-i guess when i negotiate salary, i'm not sure what i could live with? since numbers are so variable from city to city.

Thanks everybody, keep your suggestions coming, i really appreciate it.
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:31 PM
 
Location: The Big D
14,862 posts, read 40,112,873 times
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If you like the larger lots with mature trees......... your distant relatives are right. Stay out of places like Frisco. Lake Highlands, Lakewood, Richardson and Garland are ALL going to give you a very nice house on a nice sized lot (some much larger than others) with mature trees. If you find a house on a huge lot w/ tons of mature trees you will feel like you live in "the sticks" in your own paradise yet with everything right at your fingertips.

As for being Jewish......... Dallas is home to Temple Emanu-El and is one of the larger and more well known in the Dallas region. It was the first Synagogue established in Dallas. Handbook of Texas Online - TEMPLE EMANU-EL, DALLAS

I've got several Jewish friends (even though I'm Baptist ) and we all get along great. Both of my kids have a student every year in their class that is Jewish and it is never the same ones. So your kids will NOT be the only Jewish kids in their school (as long as you stay in the above mentioned areas ). I even grew up w/ some back in my day and still friends with them all. Don't know much about the schools myself since we don't attend them. My friends that still use the school for Hebrew classes have liked it.

Don't think you will have much to be worried about here in Dallas concerning THAT side it.

Finding the house on the lot in the area that fits your family will be a bit tougher. The areas that are going to be like what your describing have NOT seen a dip in the real estate market and do sell pretty quick.
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:23 AM
 
Location: North Texas
37 posts, read 121,449 times
Reputation: 24
Groceries are not taxed unless they are non-food items (razors, shampoo, soap, etc.), so I don't agree with the taxes being higher on everything. Also, I don't know what it costs to register cars in NY, but here, it's less than $100. I don't think it would cost any more here than NY to keep them up; in fact, gas prices are among the lowest in the U.S. If you don't have a driver's license already, you will have to take a test, but when I moved here, I didn't have to, just turned in my other state license. Many states have personal property tax on cars, boats, rv's, etc., but there is none of that in Texas. You only pay taxes on your real estate. Our sales tax rate is 8-1/4%, and there is a "tax holiday" in August, before school starts, where you can buy clothes and school supplies and pay no sales tax. Tax on new car purchases is 6%, and the tax is less if you trade in a car when you buy--only on the difference between your trade in and the new car.

The northern suburbs of Dallas are not necessarily overly "Christian," in fact, there are mosques and temples in many of these cities, including Frisco and McKinney. I don't know the religious affiliation of all my neighbors, it's not something that necessarily comes up in casual conversation. One of my best friends, who is Jewish, lives in Plano, and I've never heard her mention any problems with over-zealous Christians trying to convert her. The only door-to-door evangelists I've ever encountered were Jehovah's Witnesses, and I think you can run into them just about anywhere. I think you could live anywhere and practice your faith comfortably (unless you wear a shirt that says "Death to all Christians" or something crazy, which I'm sure you wouldn't.) There are indeed kosher aisles in most of the grocery stores, and plenty of places to worship. There is such a diverse population here--Buddhists, Muslims, and yes, Christians and Jews....if you get someone who cares (in a bad way) about your faith, I would be very surprised.

Property tax rates vary from about 2.4% in the Denton County part of Frisco to over 3% in McKinney, with other cities in between (Plano, Allen, Prosper, Melissa, Celina, Richardson). As a homeowner, you get a partial exemption on your property taxes which helps reduce your bill.

The traffic flows are different depending on what part of town you're in. The north/south routes through Plano are US 75 on the east side and the Dallas North Tollway on the west side. IMO, US 75 is much worse during rush hour than the Tollway. This would impact east Plano, Allen, McKinney and Melissa. Going east-west is the George Bush Turnpike, which runs through the southern edge of Plano/northern edge of North Dallas. Everything gets backed up to some extent during rush hour, but unless there is an accident, most of them move pretty well. I would consider the local traffic to be the worst in McKinney and west Frisco (especially off of El Dorado Parkway, which carries way too big a load for North/West Frisco and Little Elm, and is only a single lane in each direction).

McKinney has the most trees. East Plano has them too, but there are some unsavory areas in the eastern sections of both towns (east of 75). If you want more land, there are some estate-type areas in Fairview (although probably not in the price point you're seeking), but you can find a nice house with a pool in most of these areas for $300K, no problem. Frisco and Celina are experiencing the most growth, although Celina is still pretty "hick," as we would call it. It will be the next boom town in the area, once the economy picks back up. According to the Dallas Morning News, there are plans for a major east-west highway to go through the center of Celina as well as the extension of the North Dallas tollway, which will go all the way to the Oklahoma border, through Celina's western edge. Houses are reasonable, and you can find acreage there as well. There just isn't much commerce yet; a grocery store, some gas stations, a Sonic, Subway and Church's Fried Chicken, in addition to some developing commerce on the town square, such as beauty shops, home-style restaurants and antiques. Melissa is pretty much a "bedroom" community, with many older houses on an acre or more but the newer subdivisions on small lots. Same goes for Prosper. I think you will be better off buying an existing home if you want some yard with your pool; most of the newer homes are on tiny lots, although there are some exceptions. My home in Celina is on almost 1/2 acre, and there is plenty of room for a pool, swing set, dog run, etc. and patio. But most of the lots in the neighborhood aren't quite as big. There are some neighborhoods in Frisco with larger lots, but they get quite expensive. Some of the older neighborhoods in Plano, McKinney, Allen, and Melissa have the larger lots you're wanting and more mature trees.

In case no one told you already, be prepared for the total mania over high school football. It's a really big deal here. In Plano, as in some of the other cities, the senior high schools are only grades 11-12, so that they can maximize their football talent. When my stepdaughter graduated from Plano High School in 1997, her class had over 1500 students and graduation took 6 hours. Frisco is still a four-year high school system, but I believe there are 4 schools now. Celina still has only one high school, but that will change in the not-too-distant future. I think Melissa and Prosper still have only one high school as well. The ratings for most local schools are excellent, but if you'd rather have your kids have a chance at being more than a number, I'd stay out of Plano, McKinney and Frisco, and go with the smaller towns like Celina, Prosper, Melissa. There are private schools as well, if you prefer.

I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a lower cost of living in such a diverse, large metropolitan area. The housing market is stable, jobs are still fairly plentiful, and most people are friendly. If you can handle the heat, it's a pretty good place to live. $200K a year will give you a very comfortable life indeed.

Hope you have an easy move and a wonderful new life in Dallas--I hope to welcome you soon!

Wishing you the best,
Nina
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in Texas
5,296 posts, read 12,566,828 times
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I live in a small rural area of Texas and we have Jewish children here, not many though. In Dallas, you won't have a problem. You have definitely picked the right city for anything you want in this life.
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:39 PM
 
6,578 posts, read 24,182,127 times
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It's going to be harder for you to find the big lot than it will be to find fellow Jewish folks.
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