Moving to Dallas

Apr 7th, 2016, 02:04 PM
Original Poster
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Moving to Dallas

My husband has just gotten a job near Love Field and planning to move to Dallas soon. We currently live in Denver and are surrounded by fun restaurants and unique shopping. I am trying to avoid the strip mall sprawl and find an area with some culture. We have three kids with the oldest in High School. I am overwhelmed looking at all the suburbs all around Dallas. I would like some advice on places to avoid and those to investigate. Our housing budget is under 500k. Any suggestions?
Kelee2211 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2016, 03:07 PM
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Yep, that's Dallas. No culture (forget the West End, Arts District, Arboretum, Zoo, Perot Museum, DWA, etc.), all strip malls (we'll forget about the innumerable shopping areas in and around the city).

Perhaps less condescension would lead to better suggestions.

So would more specifics:

(a) public or private schools

(b) size of house desired (talk square feet, not bedrooms - there are no basements in Dallas so you don't get added living areas underground)

(c) commuting tolerance - how long can the hubby tolerate in transit each way.

(d) location of job - "near Love Field" is nebulous because even a small airport is an airport - that means it takes up a decent amount of space and where his job will be will matter.

(e) what part of Denver do you live in - that would help get a corresponding area of Dallas.
BigRuss is offline  
Apr 7th, 2016, 04:11 PM
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Well housing should not be an issue since in Texas it is dirt cheap compared to most of the country.

I would start with a relocation web site and start looking for 1) the best school districts and 2) a reasonable commute to your DH's job. After that you will have a much shorter list to learn more about.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 7th, 2016, 06:05 PM
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If the kids will be in public schools, your search will be dictated by school district. Some good ones that would not be a bad commute to the Love Field area include Coppell, Grapevine, and Southlake-Carroll. Frisco and Plano are considered good too, but are a little further north. There are some nice neighborhoods in an area of Dallas called Lake Highlands that is in Richardson ISD, which is well regarded.
Highland Park is a beautiful and has good schools, but not sure what you could find under 500K.

You would need to visit to get a feel for the areas and see what strikes you as right for your family.
jayne1973 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2016, 08:09 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I hope my post didn't come off as pretentious. I'm Just trying to research as much as possible before I go visit.
To answer the questions and be more specific. I never even considered private schools. Are the public schools not very good? I currently teach at a k-8 and would hope to possibly teach in the same district as my kids. So to answer the question, I guess most important to me are good schools and not a horribly long drive to Love Field (30min).
As far as size of house I'm not sure probably around 2500sft.
The hubby will work at the airport.

Thanks for the list of areas with good schools and helping me narrow down my search. I will keep gathering information on which school districts are the best within 30/40 min drive to the airport. I've heard traffic can be a bear. Is it always or only during commute time?

Anything else I need to know about the Dallas area?
Kelee2211 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2016, 08:06 AM
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Yes, it's incredibly hot for much of the year.

And school districts can be very uneven - hence the question about private schools. We had friends who moved there from NY and in order to have a decent commute for the husband they decided they had to do private schools for their kids (wanting the equivalent of what they would get here in a top quality suburb). What they were most concerned about was the limited selection of courses (esp foreign languges) and the low percentage of graduates going to a 4 year university (here 90% plus in good school districts).
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 8th, 2016, 08:19 AM
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Dallas ISD has a generally bad reputation, although there are certainly good schools in the district. It's just so huge and with that comes a lot of issues. They do have some good magnet schools but I don't have enough knowledge of which and where to be a reliable source.
When looking at areas, be sure to specify to Realtors that you want to see homes in specific school districts, not just in a city of the same name. School districts do not always follow city boundaries. It's somewhat confusing but as long as you double check the school district a house is in, it will be fine.
jayne1973 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2016, 10:26 AM
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Doubtful you find decent housing In your budget range within a 30 minute commute of Love Field unless you will accept something much smaller than 2500sq. ft. or you perhaps double your budget. It's going to be more like 60+ minutes if commuting during normal rush hours.
RoamsAround is online now  
Apr 9th, 2016, 06:05 AM
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Will your husband have "normal" working hours? That can change a 30 minute commute off peak to 60, depending on where you locate. It's been a long time since we lived there, but our son and family live in Frisco now, and like Plano where he grew up, schools are excellent. Houses would be in your price range, but the commute would be long. We settled in Plano despite my husband's job being in the heart of downtown Dallas, and were very very happy with the area. He left before the masses in the morning, and after them in the evening, which worked for him anyway with his job in the hotel industry and its weird hours. Schools were excellent...we'd been transferred from Boston and our daughter, who had been in a "Harvard experimental school" there, had some catching up to do in Plano 1st grade!

Contrary to popular opinion, all housing in TX is not dirt cheap. Aside from the two districts previously mentioned, I'd also seriously considered Southlake, except that you might have trouble finding a house in your price range. Schools are excellent with 98% of Southlake Carroll senior high school going on to college. It doesn't get much better than that, but like Highland or University Park areas, it comes with a price tag.

We loved living in the Dallas area. Plano (and now Frisco too) are very very family friendly. Plano was growing by leaps and bounds when we moved there, but they built new schools as neighborhoods went in, as well as expanding their library system. There are soccer fields galore, and bike paths for family rides. It was a terrific area to raise a family. Now I see the same in Frisco. Enjoy your time there...coming from Boston I was not keen on moving to Dallas, except that it was touted as a red hot area, but ended up just loving it, and still love going back and visiting old haunts.
OO is offline  
Apr 9th, 2016, 01:54 PM
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Southlake is a nice area (as is Grapevine), but they are currently doing road construction on the Hwy 114 corridor into Dallas (around DFW Airport area). Although the majority of the 114/121 corridor is new (5+ lanes), it still bogs down during rush hour (which starts ~3:30 and runs thru about 6:30).

NE Irving/Las Colinas/Valley Ranch areas wouldn't be too bad of a commute, but the schools aren't great. You could find perfectly good housing for your budget.
There is a charter school that services this area -- North Hills Prep that would be worth looking into. It is its own "district" not funded by any city taxes.

You could look into the edges of Park Cities area of Dallas (University Park / Highland Park) and might find something in your price range, and that could get you into the Highland Park School District.

As Jayne mentioned, Coppell (north of Irving) could be a good option, but I would not do Grapevine or Southlake -- way too much traffic hassle - although the schools are good.
jill_h is offline  
Apr 9th, 2016, 04:13 PM
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This is an interesting thread with people very obviously trying to help. When I read that "schools are good" I keep wondering exactly what the definition of "good" actually is.

I see one person defines it as the number of graduates who go on to college. Would people agree this is the best definition or are there others?
Dukey1 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2016, 09:10 AM
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Residents of school districts mentioned tend to have higher average incomes and education levels, which is reflected in the students who attend the schools. That means higher test scores, graduation levels, more college attendance and so on--which translates as "good" in school speak.

There are plenty of good educators in all the school districts. Some are just working with student populations that are much more socially and economically diverse.
jayne1973 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2016, 08:56 AM
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Kelee -

Congrats on the new job and move. I live 5 miles north of Love Field. 30 minute commute will not get you very far at all during rush hour. If he works off hours, it widens up more area. Traffic STINKS with (and without) road construction. IMO, Southlake, Grapevine, Coppell are more than a 30 minute commute. I drive from my house to Coppell (granted it is north west Coppell) once a week for a sport practice. If I leave at 4:15, I can get there in 30 minutes, but if I leave at 4:45, it takes a good 45 minutes or more, and I am in a bad mood. I assume it would take even longer leaving later.

In addition to looking at school districts, you need to look at individual schools. Info on each school can be found on the Web.

You may consider looking in Carrollton (not north Carrollton). I have friends at elementary, middle and high school in Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD. (again look by school). My kids go to parochial school which is affordable through 8th grade. Many of the kids attend public school afterwards for high school, and most have been happy. They attend 3 of the different Carrollton/Farmers Branch high schools, Coppell and Irving (the one in Valley Ranch).

jill_h mentions North Hills which is an excellent school. I have one friend with a kid there. However, she feels it is socially lacking.

If your kids play sports, there is much to choose from. The area is very family friendly.

Check out and do searches on houses. I believe you can pick by school district.

Good luck!
jcb is offline  
Apr 11th, 2016, 09:07 AM
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IMHO one of the most important things in looking at school districts is not just the % of seniors going to 4 year universities (not community colleges) but also the selection of courses.

A good school district should have a large number of AP or honors courses, a goo selection of language courses (they found many didn't even have Latin) and extended courses beyond the basic 5: english, social studies, language, math and science: for instance, courses in journalism or psychology or art or music or other special interests for students who prefer to take 6 or 7 majors.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 11th, 2016, 09:47 AM
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That's flat wrong.

In the suburbs Jayne described, you can get houses for <500K and usually in the 3000sf range. RoamsAround is completely off on this.

Contrast that to Highland Park, where you won't find anything less than about $300/sf (or more - I wouldn't even bother looking at your range). In University Park, which also has good schools, you'd get a much smaller house for 500K. But in north Irving (which would be Coppell ISD), Carrollton and others, you can easily find houses for 500K that will have the room you want.

I don't know what NYTrav is on about - courses in journalism are completely useless on the college level (look at all the UVa grads in major media and UVa doesn't have a journalism program), they're nonsensical on the high school level. Students take majors in college, not high school. The notion that students in high school need to have a course catalog that would fit in at Vassar is uniquely an upper East (and West) Side New York City mindset.

North Hills is a charter school in the Irving ISD. Enrollment is subject to a lottery. It has a rigorous curriculum and a high-powered student body. Demographics play a large part - you can research what ZIP codes North Hills primarily serves and the makeup of those communities on your own. Its sister school Infinity Prep does not do as well on the various (and innumerable) standardized tests primarily because of the students found in the ZIP codes it was designed to serve. These are simple facts.

As for the "incredibly hot much of the year" silliness: yeah, Dallas is hot. It will be 90+ from much of May through much of September. In July and August, it will hit 100. If anything more than 85 is incredibly hot, then you'll have major adjustment. You get used to it to some degree and modify your approach to the weather to some degree (two words: drink water, run the AC). It is not Death Valley and it is not Phoenix. NYC gets 95-98 in July and August with 90%+ humidity. Dallas does not get so humid. Dallas also does not make its own gravy during rainfalls (stole that line from an old Letterman intro), and the cost of living is nearer to 100 than most major cities (and its 'burbs can be far less).

Dallas also does not have regular 10" snowfalls, force you to wear multiple layers in April, have horrendous pollution or subject its residents to the Lake Effect. Outdoor activities are easily pursued 10 months out of the year, or more.
BigRuss is offline  
Apr 14th, 2016, 08:43 AM
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It's not the suburbs but look at East Dallas and Lakewood. The latter area is more expensive but has some very good schools. The commute to Love should be under 30 minutes.
happytourist is offline  
Apr 14th, 2016, 09:02 AM
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Also the Lake Highlands area of Dallas, near White Rock Lake.
jill_h is offline  
May 5th, 2016, 06:54 PM
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Hi Kelee2211 and welcome to Dallas! The Dallas area is huge and there are many different GREAT areas to live. My son also works at Love Field for Southwest Airlines. He and his wife live in Plano and he rides the train into work on many days. Other days he prefers to drive, but it does take him approximately 45-60 minutes on a good day. Our traffic is horrible around here due to construction. I want you to also know I spent 33 years in the public school systems in and around the Dallas area as a principal and counselor and there are MANY public schools that offer wonderful educations for your children. My husband was also a high school principal for 19 years in a suburb district as well. I am very sad when I hear people bashing our profession and our schools. There are good and bad in all professions. If you choose to place your children in a private school, there is nothing wrong with that. My own children went to the public schools with me and did perfectly well in 4 year universities earning degrees in aerospace engineering and mass communications, while my sister put her children in private schools and were also very successful. It all comes down to your influence in their lives. Your babies will not suffer if you choose to put them in a "well-chosen" district. While the Lake Highlands district is a wonderful district, it is also very expensive to purchase a home there. I do not know what your family resources will be, but if you are of the average nature like my family, you might take the suggestion someone had of Southlake-Carroll, Grapevine, Coppell, Irving, and I would also like to add Lewisville's Flower Mound. It is a wonderful area, very family oriented and great school district. I do not live there, so do not think that I am advocating my district. I actually was an administrator in the Denton ISD, but I would not recommend that drive into Dallas everyday. If you would like to talk privately about this, feel free to contact me. I can answer most any question you would have about school things. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] and I will give you my cell phone number and we can talk. Otherwise, good luck to you and I hope you enjoy your new home! Linda
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