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Old 10-25-2008, 09:50 AM
Location: Texas
15 posts, read 42,818 times
Reputation: 12


My husband and I are professionals in our late 20s and childless. I just accepted a job in downtown Fort Worth. I would like a house with good potential for resale (if that even exists anymore), but I don't want to commute for hours a day.

I have spoken with people in Fort Worth who say that you can sometimes get more house for less money in Forth Worth proper. I assume this would cut down significantly on my commute, and my husband and I wouldn't mind being close to downtown Ft. Worth for the museums, restaurants, etc. We would like a neighborhood with other young professionals or young couples with children, but also a neighborhood where there is significant entertainment and easy access to shopping.

My husband and I have a dog, so we would like a yard, but not so much yard that it would take an entire Saturday to mow. We are willing to look at new and established neighborhoods.

It is my understanding that if we do have children and remain in one of these areas, we would probably need to send them to private schools, and we are not opposed to this.

These are the areas that have been suggested to me:
  • Arlington Heights
  • Fairmount
  • Ryan Place
  • Mistletoe Heights
  • Berkeley
  • Forest Park
  • Woodhaven Country Club (I have read several not-so-good things about this area)
Any thoughts on these areas?

What if my budget is $200K or less?

Are there any other areas where we should look?

We are overwhelmed with all the options, but we have three all-expense paid trips to house hunt in the area. Thank you in advance for helping us narrow down where to look when we come to town!
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Old 10-25-2008, 01:24 PM
200 posts, read 421,239 times
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All of the areas on your list are stellar. (Woodhaven itself is beautiful and a good value for the money; it's just the area between it and I30 is a bit rough - but getting better as the older apartments are razed.)

I would add to your list Ridglea Hills, Ridglea North, and Ridgmar neighborhoods in west Fort Worth, as well as the area around TCU and the Westcliff neighborhood in southwest Fort Worth. All of these are older, established neighborhoods with a wide variety of architectural styles, beautiful trees and access to decent schools. They include many upscale homes, but you can find some real gems for $200K and less on occasion. (I scan the FW real estate websites from time to time...)

I would strongly suggest getting a locally based realtor to show you around on your trips to Fort Worth. And many local real estate firms have websites where you can view homes for sale by neighborhood on line.

I think you're smart to purchase a home in Fort Worth proper - especially in one of the neighborhoods you've listed. The city is definitely on the way up and homes close in will only get more valuable. I liken it to Austin (where I live) 10 years ago right before all the older funky neighborhoods in the city's center shot up in value as folks wanted to be closer to downtown.

By the way, I spent last weekend with friends who have a remodeled bungalow in the Arlington Heights area and was just taken aback by how charming and beautiful and well kept the older homes were all around. We walked to the Impressionist exhibit at the Kimbell and then to a terrific wine bar on the brick part of Camp Bowie for drinks and dinner. Such a difference from the bland D/FW (and Austin) suburbs. Good luck. You're moving to a fantastic city!

Last edited by rogramjet; 10-25-2008 at 01:33 PM..
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Old 10-25-2008, 04:37 PM
Location: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
4,191 posts, read 14,054,457 times
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Originally Posted by Aggie Girl View Post

These are the areas that have been suggested to me:
  • Arlington Heights for 200K you would be able to get a fixer upper or something priced for lot value only. The rest of the homes are priced over 400K where they were purchased for the large lots and built mcmansions on there.
  • Fairmount Historic District - may be lucky and get a 2 bedroom, 1 bath in decent condition./ Anything restored is over 280K
  • Ryan Place Mid century district also designated Historic.
  • Mistletoe Heights Nothing below 250K here
  • Berkeley Nothing less than 300K here
  • Forest Park (considered Mistletoe Heights by many people because of its proximity)
  • Woodhaven Country Club (I have read several not-so-good things about this area) You will have several to choose from in this community and your money will go further here.
Any thoughts on these areas?

Just like any neighborhood, I would suggest that follow your gut feeling as you tour homes, and take the time to drive the area at different hours, evening, weekends etc. and stop and ask the neighbors their opinion.

Are there any other areas where we should look?
Check out areas outside Fort Worth proper such as the HEB area (Hurst, Euless and Bedford) North Richland Hills. The HEB area would put you close if you wanted to commute to Dallas over the weekend or for sporting events etc.

I would suggest giving your Realtor your "wants" and "needs" list and then he/she can do a search for you in the different areas.

Last edited by nsumner; 10-25-2008 at 04:47 PM..
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:18 PM
200 posts, read 421,239 times
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AggieGirl: I just did a search on a Fort Worth realtor's website and found 59 homes in the areas you listed in Fort Worth proper that ranged in price from $175K - $225K. Of those, 35 were $200K or under - and many had been remodeled. Find yourself a good realtor. Not that there's anything wrong with NE Tarrant County bedroom communities, but I wouldn't let a post on over-generalized home prices in central Fort Worth inform your search and possibly relegate you and your husband to the 'burbs if you really want to live close in...
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Old 10-26-2008, 03:44 PM
Location: Texas
15 posts, read 42,818 times
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rogramjet: could you PM me some names of good realtors? I have looked at williamstrew.com, which is a very good website, but if you know a good realtor, I would love a suggestion. Thanks!
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Old 10-27-2008, 07:33 AM
32,541 posts, read 51,077,194 times
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my suggestions would be to look at MLS for homes in areas you are interested in
see how many homes are listed by same realtor--my take is that a realtor who has listing for multiple homes in an area is doing something right
either s/he has lots of contacts/owners who want to deal with him/her or s/he has good word of mouth from people whose homes they have worked before...
in any case, they know the market and are not one-time-wonders...
look at web pages for any realtor whose name comes up more than once--check experience and see about any listing/selling awards might have gotten...
that would be one way to find someone who is knowledgeable about the area

would also pay attention to the rating for elementary school house is zoned for--acceptable is less desireable than recognized--would try for that -- don't think there are any exemplary rateds in some areas in your price range...Fairmont has DeZavala/Doggett/Paschal combo which is about the best in FTW ISD so that is what I would look for if you could find one in your price range...

and frankly Woodhaven would be more risky than the other areas on that list-Eastern Hills HS has an unacceptable rating--and that is pretty bad...

you don't mention anything about your husband's work--is he working out of the house or just does nto care about his commute?

Last edited by loves2read; 10-27-2008 at 07:44 AM..
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Old 10-27-2008, 05:50 PM
2 posts, read 5,885 times
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Your situation sounds very similar the one my wife were in about a year ago. We are also professionals in our late twenties, childless, working downtown, and looking for a home in a more urban environment. Our search led to us to purchase a home in Fairmount, and we have been very happy with that decision. To echo others on this board, you should certainly investigate all the areas you are considering thoroughly. That said, of the specific areas you listed, I am most familiar with Fairmount, Ryan Place, Mistletoe Heights, and Berkeley.

As mentioned by others, Mistletoe Heights and Berkeley are probably out of your price range unless you find a steal. We looked extensively in these two areas but didn't find anything in our price range that wouldn't require massive renovation.

Fairmount and Ryan Place are much more reasonable in terms of price and you should definitely be able to find something in your price range. In fact, two completely renovated to the studs houses on the 1300 block of Alston just sold this summer/spring for 170-180s, and are now occupied by two couples in your demographic. These neighborhoods do tend to have a younger demographic because the homes are more affordable and because of the proximity to the restaurants and entertainment on Magnolia Ave. However, you should note well that the reason Fairmount and Ryan Place are more affordable neighborhoods is that they are still neighborhoods in transition. Living in any of these areas in the urban core is not like living on a golf course in suburbia. But at the same time, when these areas are completely developed, people like us probably won't be able to afford the houses in them. Sorry for the ramble. Good luck with you house hunt.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:07 PM
Location: Texas
15 posts, read 42,818 times
Reputation: 12
FW Resident - Thanks for the great advice. I am not looking to pay $200K for a house and then do a massive renovation, so I will definitely check out Fairmount and Ryan Place. Those places sound like just what we are looking for. I have some more questions for you:

What is your commute into downtown?

Are there many houses for sale in these neighborhoods?

Did you use a realtor to find your home? If so, who did you use?

When you say "neighborhoods in transition," what exactly do you mean? Do you feel safe? Do you think young professionals in our demographic will continue moving into Ryan Place and Fairmount?
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:33 PM
2 posts, read 5,885 times
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Glad I could be helpful.

The commute to downtown is just a few minutes, like fewer than ten. And, according to unofficial plans for the new streetcar system, a streetcar route will run from Magnolia Ave. into downtown. So you could use that if/when it is constructed, if you are so inclined.

There are houses for sale in these neighborhoods, but like anywhere, you have to search for the good ones. We did use a realtor, but she was a family friend who was actually not based in this part of town, so probably not a good example. As others have suggested, I would pick a realtor in that is based in the area. I found www.ifoundahome.com to be useful. Look under Central West/Southwest/TCU.

Both Ryan Place and Fairmount are areas that were in the near past economically depressed but are now being redeveloped. As such, the neighborhoods are very eclectic. Sort of reminds me of a poor man's Austin. We have always felt safe and never had any crime issues, even walking around at night, but it is definitely different than living in suburban community in that there are a large variety of social and economic classes all living together. Some people are very put off by this and some aren't. It just depends on the person. My suggestions would be to drive around when you visit and see what you think. Good luck.
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Old 11-29-2008, 10:50 PM
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My husband and I were in the same situation just a few months ago. We originally were looking around the TCU area and many of the other neighborhoods you listed earlier. But driving around, we found we liked the bungalow style of houses with the front porches in the Fairmount area. And, we were able to find a house that had been completely renovated down to the studs, while maintaining the historic look of an old house (100 yrs +), all for less than 200K. Yes, there are houses that have been re-done or newly built and priced anywhere from 200,000-500K +, but there are also houses for 50K that need a lot of work and money. Whatever level your looking for you can find in this transition neighborhood. Just driving through the neighborhood, some parts can seem a little "sketchy", but if you stop and look around you'll notice all the revitalization occurring. I really do feel safe walking around and already the neighborhood feels like home. I have met so many of my neighbors, many who are young professionals like us. We also love having a nice variety of restaurants that aren't a part of a chain, located within walking distance on Magnolia Ave. Of course, there are also the restaurants and museums downtown only 5-10 min away.
I hope this helps as you consider all the different neighborhoods to look at. Good luck with you search!
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