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Old 05-06-2011, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
31 posts, read 54,797 times
Reputation: 21

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Hello. My husband is looking at a possible job transfer to JRB Fort Worth. If it happens, it will most likely be by late summer or early fall. While he's traveled there several time on business, we've never lived in the area. I'd love some advice on where to focus our house search. From what I've gleaned from this forum, traffic can be a nightmare. Based on my research, areas to the south and west of Fort Worth might be our best bet.

Details on what we want: Our house budget is up to 400K, we'd like to live within 30-40 minutes (preferably 30 minutes or less) of the base during rush hour traffic, good schools are paramount as we have two young kids. We'd like to have a large lot, preferably 1/2 acre, maybe a full acre. We'd like an energy efficient house so we are leaning toward new or newer construction. A subdivision is fine, preferably one with a pool and other amenities.

Originally I was intrigued by the Bluffs at Heritage but after looking at some pictures of the community, I think the houses are likely too close together for comfort. Now, I'm looking at Benbrook, out toward Aledo and possibly as far as Weatherford. Any guidance on subdivisions to look at, particularly those built by quality builders, is very much appreciated. There are some new/newer houses south of Benbrook (Mustang Creek) but from what I understand, they don't have city water and use well water. Is that an issue?

We understand property taxes are high and have factored them into our overall house budget.
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Old 05-06-2011, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, TX
1,379 posts, read 6,054,026 times
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Some alternatives to The Bluffs. Spring Ranch in Haslet on Willow Springs Road has 1/2 acre lots. Van Zandt on Bonds Ranch Road (there are a few communities that would fit your bill there on half acres and full acres, even with some horse property). Vista Ranch and Newark Ranch are both acre lots. The Orchards off of Peden are probably the highest end of the acre lots.

The ones I have mentioned are all custom home communities and probably have a few lots open to build if you wish.

Send me a pm if you have any specific questions.
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Old 05-06-2011, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
31 posts, read 54,797 times
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Thanks for the info. I'll see what I can find out about those communities. While my husband is from Texas (San Antonio), it is all very confusing to me...ISDs, variable property taxes, etc. I'm quite interested in schools. How do I determine what schools are the best for academics? For instance, I've heard that Fort Worth ISD schools are not that great overall. However, the schools in Benbrook are rated more highly(at least on the sites I've checked) but are also part of Fort Worth ISD. What makes them better?
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Old 05-06-2011, 03:32 PM
 
32,627 posts, read 51,232,810 times
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If schools are your TOP priority most people would not rate the schools on the west side of the Metroplex as high as the ones on the east side
Aledo schools aren't bad--they just aren't as good as some others like Southlake, Grapevine Colleyville, HEB, Birdville, or Keller
I would rate Aledo and Mansfield about equal although the demographics in the districts are different

and better than Arlington ISD or GP or Irving (excluding the Las Colinas area)

Ferrier is construction company out of FTW that has long history of buiding energy efficient designs
but might be too expensive for your price--true custom builder from ground up

Norwich is builder --local, custom--who builds energy efficient homes
Norwich Homes High Performance Energy Efficient Custom Green Homes[]=4

Covered Bridge Canyon subdivision has homes in three different sections (different building times/age)
they are all acre lots or larger--trees--some change in elevations--this is in Parker county--not Tarrant
this is the web site for the HOA
Covered Bridge Canyon Homes for Sale
different builders--two school districts--Azle and Aledo -- dependig on the area house is in
we have looked there--there are some beautiful homes--but it is pretty isolated--no shopping close--
homes have wells for water and septic systems--not public water lines

We looked in Aledo when we thought we wanted a home on larger lot--like an acre--
McDavid Estates --and the one across the road from it--and Lakes of Aledo which was newer development
they had some nice homes--we just decided they were too far from downtown FTW where my husband works and we wanted to say closer to where we currently lived--did not want to change doctors/dentists or lose easy contact with friends

will PM you web site for RE in Parker county that also has NE Texas MLS
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Old 05-06-2011, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, TX
1,379 posts, read 6,054,026 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albus87 View Post
Thanks for the info. I'll see what I can find out about those communities. While my husband is from Texas (San Antonio), it is all very confusing to me...ISDs, variable property taxes, etc. I'm quite interested in schools. How do I determine what schools are the best for academics? For instance, I've heard that Fort Worth ISD schools are not that great overall. However, the schools in Benbrook are rated more highly(at least on the sites I've checked) but are also part of Fort Worth ISD. What makes them better?
ISDs are rated based on TAKS results. Exemplary, Recognized or Accademically Acceptable. A large chunk of property taxes goes to the ISD and property tax rates vary depending upon ISD Independent School District servicing and city. Both the school and the district are rated.

Keller ISD which serves the Bluffs and most of the schools (elementary) are exemplary. But the rating can change each year depending upon the TAKS testing. TAKS testing is a major grumble for most teachers, but it is way to examine and make sure that kids are learning what they should. Anyway...don't want to open that can of worms. You can do a search on it in this forum if you like.

Most of the ISDs are seeing major budget cuts but so far, Northwest ISD, which is the district of the properties that I mentioned haven't had to layoff or fire any staff. They have been able to redistribute personnel, even opening up a two new elementary schools this year.

Greatschools is a great resource for checking out different schools.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:41 AM
 
32,627 posts, read 51,232,810 times
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So far the budget cuts have not been required -- next year will be when it takes effect--
and the TAKS evaluation system is coming to a close soon--
a new testing system will be phases in which requies an end-of-course exam to determine competency
Now parents nor teachers can complain that they are "teaching to the test" and the test is not relevant to the course materials
this test will be specifically correlated to the individual course--Am History only, English III only, Biology only--
so IF students and teachers are taking care of business--the ratings should not suffer at all and really should be as strong or stronger than TAKS--
the first year this system is emplimented there will be NO school ratings provided since that is implementation period (same happened when TAKS superseeded the TAAS testing format)
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:38 PM
 
Location: TX
3,044 posts, read 11,044,588 times
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Your 30 minute rush hour commute to JRB will take out Weatherford.
I also think Haslet would be too far out for 30 mins. I 35 is a nightmare and can be bumper to bumper even around 3pm.

Aledo is good for a 30 to 45minute commute to JRB. Schools are good, smaller than the big districts and I liked that. Strong sports in Aledo. The town itself is quite small and I think most shopping is done in Lake Worth.
McDavid Estates is very nice and they do have lots with an acre +. HOA fees seem pretty reasonable (125.00/year), but I do not think if they have community pools, tennis courts, playgrounds etc..
Stone Creek ranch is another subdivision as well as Covered Bridge canyon (as loves2 mentioned)
Bella Vista is a new community and it si supossed to have a communtiy pool.

Heritage will probably be the closest "planned communtiy" with pools, tennis courts, palyground and elementary schools all within the subdivision.
Commute will be closer than Haslet, but you will still have I-35 to deal with etc but should be within the 45 minute mark. YOu can also try Beech/western center st to avoid 35.
For 400k you should be able to get a a new home on a 1/3 acre lot, there are some 1/2 acre lots avail as well in the Bluffs.

The Bluffs is one of the communities where houses are not smashed in together, they have alot of open space and larger lots. If you want ALL the bells and whistles that a master planned community has to offerthen Bluffs isyour best bet.

IF...you really want 1/2-1+ acre then Aledo will be your best bet. Many homes that we looked at in McDavid Estates had backyard pools.

ALSO for lot size remember that with houses with such a big foot print, even an acre will look smaller than you might be used to!
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Old 05-07-2011, 04:41 PM
 
32,627 posts, read 51,232,810 times
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and for what it is worth--most people who could afford a 400K house in TX would not really want a community pool except something like Keller Pointe which is city pool where swim teams practice

Aledo has very hard substrata under what little top soil might be there--
people have to dynamite their pools out of the ground most of the time

my husband has several people in his office in Sundance Sq/downtown FTW who live west of Fort Worth toward Aledo, Willow Park, Weatherford area
depending on how far off the I20 they are it can be a 30-45 min drive--
the commute has also gotten worse in the years they have been making it--
much more traffic traveling that way and seems destined to increase as they build more developments

just take the price of gas into consideration--there is no public transport--and none of his people would consider ride sharing--
maybe at JNRB there might be some people willing to do that
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
31 posts, read 54,797 times
Reputation: 21
Well, I just wrote a lengthy reply to all the great info you guys have provided and it vanished. How frustrating is that? Here goes again:

Thanks for the info on TAKS. We have a similar series of tests in Virginia.

I'm confused by the distinction between Fort Worth and Keller. I know the Bluffs are technically in Fort Worth but are in the Keller ISD. I've also seen several houses (not in the Bluffs) advertised as being in the Keller ISD but are actually in Fort Worth. I believe you have to live east of a certain road (I can't remember which one right now) to be living in Keller proper. What is the difference? What makes living within the city limits of Keller better than living in the city limits of Fort Worth? The same question can apply to many of the surrounding cities with exemplary schools.

Based on what everyone has said in answer to my original question, it sounds like to find a house in our price range in an neighborhood with the amenities we want and in the school district we want, we won't be able to do it within a 30 minute commute of JNRB. From reading other posts, I'm assuming the area directly around JNRB isn't that great. That's not surprising - that's pretty typical of most military bases.

I know 400K will buy a pretty nice house in the Fort Worth area. It's not a lot for a house in SE Virginia where we currently live. It's certainly not a starter home either but it's also not one of the gorgeous Fort Worth area houses we've seen online. Frankly, I don't want a huge 4000 sq foot home. Much more important to me than square footage is quality of construction and energy efficiency. We want to buy a quality house in a quality neighborhood that will maintain its value (and hopefully eventually increase in value, at least a small bit). We have no desire for a pool on our property because of the expense, maintenance and danger to the kids. However, we'd love to have access to a neighborhood pool for those hot summer months!
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Irvine, CA
54 posts, read 137,518 times
Reputation: 42
Within Fort Worth, the best location near the base is probably Ridglea, but I don't know if it has everything you want.
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