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Old 12-29-2008, 09:18 AM
 
Location: NE Tarrant County, TX
394 posts, read 1,141,828 times
Reputation: 261

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Group, I have a very shallow question to ask. First a little background information: I lived the past 14 years of my life in NJ. I moved to NJ from NYC and only considered two things in my home search - proximity to a train station and cleanliness of the neighborhood. During the next several years of my home owning experience, I learned that I should have more strongly considered the "school situation" and other demographic markers. It ended up being one big gentrification experiment. My resultant conclusion is that life is too short to try to establish the perfect community when you can just move to an already "established" community.

Since moving (back) to TX (lived here prior to NYC), I am intent on not having to second guess my home ownership situation the second time around. Which leads me to where I am now. After having strongly considered Mansfield, I am convinced that I'd much rather purchase into a more established community, which has led me to the north side of Tarrant County. Right now, I am on the verge of purchasing one of three homes: Two new constuction (Bedford and NRH) and one relatively older home in Colleyville that is in tremendous condition (built in 1999).

My question is simple. Are there any implicit benefits to living in a markedly more affluent area like Colleyville over Bedford or NRH? When it comes to demographics Bedford and NRH are closely matched. Colleyville, however, just blows them out of the water in terms of median family income.

I'm wondering whether the "security" of living in an area that demands such elevated home prices is worth it, all things considered.

Back in NJ, I lived a town or two over from Westfield - a town I could have afforded at the time I purchased there. Now-a-days, modest homes in that town go for close to a million $s, just for the name alone.

I am very cynical of social climbers and those who attempt to keep up with their neighbors, but can really see the benefit of living in a town with the "stellar reputation."

What do you think?

-Eric
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:49 AM
 
32,484 posts, read 50,954,572 times
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I lived in Bedford for over 25 yrs and recently bought home in Hurst in the Birdville ISD, that is about 3 mi from our old home...
in all the time I lived in our old neighborhood, we had just a few acts of vandalism (some of which were done by the neighbors' son who is now a football coach in the local district)
can't think of any burglaries or assaults...we had some bad neighbors across the street who received visits from the police for noisy pool parties and being jerks--they finally lowered the price of the house enough to sell it (they had added a pool and done other renovations and did not want to take a loss)
The people who bought it ran a roofing company and had their company trucks parked out front--paid the workers from home--basically ran a business out of the house which was against the neighborhood/city bylaws so they moved when they were going to be fined...

but we have friends to live in nice older (15 yrs) neighborhood in Colleyville with some homes in the 1M range--they built a new home on a lot that used to have a tennis court on it when the house that owned it went for foreclosure--built a lovely home--but their neighbors on either side are trouble--
one has gone to foreclosure and the house is a mess--no lawn care for months--has no A/C so the people were living over the garage with all windows open--they apparently don't have plumbing there either--the city basically did nothing since the people had no money
the house on the other side has couple who are chiropractors--they are first people in their family with money so every weekend all the family comes there for pool parties and BBQ--lots of noise/cars/insensitive to other neighbors--

my point is that there is no guarantee that where you buy will be immune from problems...
most people will say that colleyville is better and for home values it probably is but there are plenty of houses sitting on the market in colleyville right now and their values are about as stagnant as any other place right now...
Bedford has good location for the freeway--the HEB ISD has some strong programs and you get a quality education for the most part for your tax money--some neighborhoods have HOAs that enforce their housing restrictions--but if you are buying a new home in Bedford--there are only one or two places I can think of that happening--and don't know anything about those specifically...
Colleyville has higher taxes--some of their bets with the town center have not paid off--can't keep tenants in there and doubt that the movie theater will be able to stay open--that was expensive proposition by city council...schools are good because there are no apartments in Colleyville (or Southlake)--if you took out the apartment students in HEB its ratings would go up significantly --THAT IS THE SINGLE MOST SIGNIFICANT FACTOR IN COLLEYVILLE'S ABILITY TO BE A DESIREABLE PLACE TO LIVE--JUST LIKE SOUTHLAKE--HAVING NO APARTMENTS DRAMATICALLY AFFECTS THE SCHOOL SITUATION AND THE PETTY CRIME STATS OF ALMOST ANY CITY IN THIS AREA--AND THERE ARE ONLY A FEW THAT HAVE NO APARTMENTS--COPPELL MIGHT BE ANOTHER

Forbes has listed Bedford TX as one of the best places in the housing market right now--but I don't rate that as the seal of approval--their standards are just so screwy--but Bedford can be a good place to live
just remember there are no guarantees
and there are just as many people in Bedford/Colleyville/NRH who are interested in climbing the social ladder as anywhere else...
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:11 AM
 
Location: NE Tarrant County, TX
394 posts, read 1,141,828 times
Reputation: 261
Thanks for the reply, Loves2read! Your insight and experience of a great value to my family. There is only one new "development" in Bedford and that is one new U-shaped street off of Woodson called Woodson Circle. Woodson is off of Harwood just west of Hwy-121. Those homes are nice -the only ones currently for sale in Bedford w/ 3-car garages. In NRH we have a bid on a foreclosure way up near N. Tarrant Parkway - who knows where that will go? Otherwise, there are beautiful homes in Graham Ranch in NRH, but fear of the future of that development scares my wife. The Collyville home is on Steeplechase - barely in Colleyville at all, but very nice neat and in a quiet seeming road off of Cheek-Sparger. I guess in the end we'll go for the new construction. Bedford is really close to my job in Arlington and offers some great surface street alternatives to get to work when the weather is bad.

Thanks again. Advice like yours is so very valuable to us. BTW according to my analysis, Colleyville has a slightly lower tax rate than Bedford. NRH and Mansfield seem to have much higher taxes, overall. I may be reading the TAD website wrong, though.

-Eric
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:23 AM
 
32,484 posts, read 50,954,572 times
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Woodson is the development I was thinking of
that developer is not known to me--think it is someone who bought the property when home building was hot and took a chance--that street it fronts on is not that busy although there is cut through traffic to get to Bedford Euless/Harwood...think the kids would be zoned for Meadow Creek but you need to make sure--lots of re-zoning in HEB lately--

is your development in NRH Forest Glenn West ?
there are some good builders there

we know someone who lives in the Steeplechase neighborhood--it is nice, very safe development and the location is really excellent for so many things you might want to do...but getting to Arlington from there would be more of a hassle than Bedford--
the elementary school in GCISD is good and there is bus for the neighborhood--lots of kids ride it

most of the homes in that area were built by Sandlin homes--local builder with pretty good reputation--
to be as close to Hwy 26 as it is, there is not a lot of road noise--probably because there are several traffic lights that slow traffic periodically...
it is close to Market Street/Tom Thumb/NorthEast Mall/Lowe's/Home Depot--
it is a nice area--the homes in it are probably some of the best built and less expensive in Colleyville--maybe because of the location or the time it was built
the negative for us was the fact that the backyards are small and not so private usually and some of the houses have driveways that are difficult to navigate--the house right behind our friend's --which is on one of the few corner lots-- came up for sale several years ago and we should have bought it -- it fit most of what we wanted in a house--but we were in the middle of trying to build house on larger lot in Keller neighborhood that was new and not ready for construction--we waited for the new development and lost chance to buy the one behind hers--

IMO the downside to that particular house on Steeplechase would be that it is so close to Cheek Sparger--that is one of the busiest E/W roads in that part of the Mid-Cities--while there is a buffer of land you will have a lot of traffic on the road--some people that face Cheek Sparger persistently have their mail boxes knocked over by traffic being pushed to the edge of the road or just YA who think it is cool to knock mailboxes down--
if you have a pet that wanders it could be in jeopardy--but the back yard looks really inviting with the trees there--it is larger than most in that neighborhood...I would just ask about water from the creek behind the house when there is heavy rains...

We looked at Graham Ranch when it was first starting out--there is wonderful builder there who builds an excellent, energy-efficient home but found out on this site that there is lot of cut-through traffic there from people who live outside that neighborhood and take their kids back and forth to the elementary school--and there are basically no trees--at that time we wanted trees on our lot...
recommend the Elite Homes--builder does quality work...

Home VALUATIONS are higher in Colleyville--that is why they pay more tax--they have more expensive homes to bring in more tax monies also so they can have lower base rate...you should also realize that the new house in Bedford will probably be one of the most expensive per sq ft of any in Bedford--you are buying at the top of the tax heap so to speak--there are a few homes with larger lots that might be valued higher but when you buy at the top of the tax heap seeing growth in the value of your home is slow--there won't be any new construction in Bedford to help make other homes in that price range....as new construciton has spill over effect in Keller, Southlake, NRHills that subtly drives up psf in older neighborhoods--
check out the listing price per sq ft and compare with other areas--while I don't think you will have to or should pay that asking price-- it is still expensive--you will have one of the highest tax bills in Bedford because your house is one of the most expensive--
if you don't plan on moving or have no worries about job security and plan to stay there for years, it could be a good buy--just understand what you are doing

when we bought our house 25 yrs ago Bedford was the "hot" area in NE Tarrant co--no one wanted colleyville which was rustic and had a mediocre school district--times change--
Bedford was basically built out when we bought--no new construction meant home prices were stagnant for years--having apartments that had to rent to families vs only yuppies w/o kids made big change in ISD profile--and brought the test scores down when they had been some of the best in the US--
Bedford is still a great place to live--lots of positives for families--just understand your choice/decision is what I am saying...

Last edited by loves2read; 12-30-2008 at 09:38 AM..
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Old 02-01-2009, 09:27 AM
 
11 posts, read 49,001 times
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Default Colleyville has more advantages

I think things like school system & location are more important than prestige. The school system is better & crime is lower in Colleyville. It is close to 121 and the airport and is very nice, so lots of pilots and marketing executives choose Colleyville. It's a better investment. Everything is low right now, so of course it is taking longer to sell homes, yes even in Colleyville. This just means that you may be able to get a good deal. In 2007 homes were selling in 1 day or not even hitting the market, sold via word of mouth. People would plot with their realtors to see homes & put in an offer the very same day, or someone else would get it. It's a very desirable area. Of course the market is different at the moment. Even back then some homes would sit on the market - these were homes that tended to have some sort of problem or be overpriced. The location of this town simply cannot be better. You can easily get anywhere, fast, but it feels homelike & relaxed, but upscale. Right now there are several homes available in Highland Meadows which is a good neighborhood - big lots and all garages are on the end so you have good space away from neighborhoods. The way you get to 121 is Hall Johnson, which has 2 lanes going each way. This may be better than living off of Glade or Cheeksbarger which have 1 lane and get congested especially in the am & pm commute times. We moved into this neighborhood & really like it. We have a lot of older home owners that maintain the homes well. It's quiet. Most of the homes are single story & reasonably energy efficient. People tend to stay in them rather than retire somewhere else. I can easily go to Southlake, Grapevine, Fort Worth, or Dallas, depending on what I'm up to. How can you beat being tucked away but close to everything, being safe & having the top schools? I have lived several places in the country & find that people here have money but are not that into the prestige thing. There is pride and cohesiveness in the community. Perhaps this is just my observation based on comparison with east & west coast upper end neighborhoods. You might want to consider Grapevine and Southlake which are both very nice & reasonably good locations. Colleyville has been rated in the top 100 US cities to live in - look into that info. good luck to you!

Last edited by fairy-tale; 02-01-2009 at 09:39 AM..
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Old 02-01-2009, 01:31 PM
 
Location: NE Tarrant County, TX
394 posts, read 1,141,828 times
Reputation: 261
Thank you! I just typed a long response singing the praises of this forum and folk like yourself... and I lost it using the spell checking application.

Bummer!

Suffice it to say that I appreciate your excellent advice. We have chosen to live in Bedford where a builder was willing to work with us and our situation (we're selling a home in NJ). We'll be living in the only new development in Bedford. Bedford offers most of the same benefits as Colleyville, proximity to the DFW airport and my office in N. Arlington being the primary ones. The schools aren't as highly regarded, but they aren't a disaster. I think that we'll be happy.

Before we left NJ, I was dead set on living in Mansfield. I am so glad that I took the time out to travel north of the metro. The drive to Mansfield is quite depressing. I don't think that I could endure that drive on a daily basis.

Again, thanks. In the future I hope that I am able to provide advice to others that is as good as the well thought out responses I've received to my questions.

-Eric
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Old 02-02-2009, 11:34 AM
 
32,484 posts, read 50,954,572 times
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Eric if you have not tried them yet--FYI--try Lupe's Mexican restaurant in Central Park shopping center--really good made from scratch food....
Cafe Italia on Hwy 26 close to Grapevine Stadium is good Italian food and so is Bellissimo's restaurant not so far north--does not look like much but food is excellent...
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:27 PM
 
Location: NE Tarrant County, TX
394 posts, read 1,141,828 times
Reputation: 261
Thanks! We'll check those restaurants out. For now I'm just happy to be close to Luby's (sad, huh?). My wife really likes the food at the Mexican place right on Harwood close to the house.

-Eric
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:28 PM
 
32,484 posts, read 50,954,572 times
Reputation: 18375
have not eaten there but know where you are talking about

Luby's in Bedford used to be one of the best in the central TX area but it is not that great to me in past few years--the line servers change all the time--used to see the same faces year after year...
the one in Grapevine is better but it does not do the all-you-can-eat deal--just regular LuAnn's and a la cartes...
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:03 PM
 
11 posts, read 49,001 times
Reputation: 15
Default good for you, welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric S View Post
Thank you! I just typed a long response singing the praises of this forum and folk like yourself... and I lost it using the spell checking application.

Bummer!

Suffice it to say that I appreciate your excellent advice. We have chosen to live in Bedford where a builder was willing to work with us and our situation (we're selling a home in NJ). We'll be living in the only new development in Bedford. Bedford offers most of the same benefits as Colleyville, proximity to the DFW airport and my office in N. Arlington being the primary ones. The schools aren't as highly regarded, but they aren't a disaster. I think that we'll be happy.

Before we left NJ, I was dead set on living in Mansfield. I am so glad that I took the time out to travel north of the metro. The drive to Mansfield is quite depressing. I don't think that I could endure that drive on a daily basis.

Again, thanks. In the future I hope that I am able to provide advice to others that is as good as the well thought out responses I've received to my questions.

-Eric

glad it worked out for you! Interesting, everyone kept trying to talk me into Mansfield. but when I went there, it just didn't feel right at all. To each his own.
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