Overwhelmed and Moving to Dallas

Updated on September 20, 2010
J.T. asks from Hartland, MI
17 answers

Help me!!!! I am in complete transition. Last week I was the breadwinner working as a lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio. Now my family is moving to Dallas, TX for my husband’s job by the end of September, and I have no idea where to live (never mind finding a job or childcare... stay tuned for additional questions). I have a one year old son and a five year old stepdaughter. As a result, we are looking for a neighborhood within 15 miles of downtown Dallas (or with a good commute) that is family friendly. Does anyone have ANY advice concerning where to live? Alternatively, does anyone know a realtor that will help find a rental or a relocation assistant that can help with this move? Thank you in advance.

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M.K.

answers from Dallas on

I would recommend calling Amy Zepada. She is a realtor specializing in rentals. Most realtors don't really enjoy this type of work. She is great at it and a delight. Her number is ###-###-####. You may also want to talk with Lynn Cook -- she is an organizer and move specialist. 972- ###-###-#### is her number.

Also -- I am in the financial services industry and work with a number of attorneys. If you can give me an idea of the type of law you'd like to practice, I may be able to make some connections for you. Just reply and I'll send you my contact info if you are interested. Good luck! You can do it. :-)

1 mom found this helpful

T.K.

answers from Dallas on

www;greatschools.com

We live in Grand Prairie. It is right in the middle between Fort Worth and Dallas downtown. 17 miles to either downtown. That gives us many more social opportunities because we have 2 very differant thriving cities within 15 minutes drive. There is a whole differant flavor to Ft Worth. I find cause to go to both on a regular basis. If I lived closer to Dallas, then FT Worth would be out of reach. Arlington and Grapevine both have so much to offer by way of entertainement, as well. I say move to the west side of Dallas, maybe Grand Prairie or Arlington so that you can easily get to Cowboy /Ranger games, 6 flags, Ft Worth night life and live music, etc.

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K.B.

answers from Dallas on

Dallas is a huge area and there are lots of nice neighborhoods to live in. I have lived in the Dallas area most of my life and have lived in various different neighborhoods. It really depends a lot on what matters to you and how much you can afford. Dallas Independent School District is a mess! There are quite a few awesome Elementary Schools like Stonewall Jackson (M-streets) Lakewood Elementary, Hexter Elementary (near White Rock Lake), but you would likely need to do private school beyond that, with a few exceptions - Woodrow Wilson High School in Lakewood is making a come back and Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet in Downtown Dallas is great if your child is interested in the arts.

If you can afford it, Highland Park is in the heart of Dallas just minutes from Downtown and their schools are all Exemplary. But there is a lot of pressure to be wealthy and successful - what clothes you wear, how big is your house, what car do you drive, etc. - which may not be the values you want for your kids. One of the gems within the Dallas City Limits is the Lake Highlands area because they are inside the loop (635 freeway), but are in Richardson Independent School District. This would be a much cheaper version of Highland Park, but with some of the same emphasis on status. Outside of Dallas proper, there are many nice suburbs - Richardson, Plano, Garland, Irving, Frisco, Coppell, etc. All have nice areas and some good public schools. I agree that you should avoid Central Expressway (I-75) corridor for getting to and from Downtown Dallas. I live in Garland and it is much less expensive than many of the other suburbs and has some excellent schools. Coppell is a newer suburb that has excellent schools and a wide price range in homes.

Chances are that you will be pleasantly surprised at the lower cost of housing in the Dallas area as compared to many other parts of the country. You should be able to find a pretty nice home in many areas (except Highland Park) for under $250,000. Definitely rent something until you find what area would work best for you. I should think you would find some nice apartments or homes to rent in Lake Highlands and lots of good daycare in that area. Also you would have the ability to get Downtown without having to take a major freeway. That would be a good place to begin, in my opinion. Good Luck and welcome to Big D!

2 moms found this helpful
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C.B.

answers from Dallas on

J., your question is too broad to be answered. I assume your husband is working downtown; within 15 miles, there is every type and price of home you could possibly ask for. Also, you should define (in a maximum number of minutes) what your family considers a "good commute". There are a dozen highways that lead to downtown from every direction. I suggest you: define a home price range; decide what kind of home you want (new, old, 60's-70's, etc), Dallas school district or private schools, condo/townhome/house, then narrow down some neighborhoods and then ask us again. I suspect many people will say White Rock Lake, Lakewood, M-streets, etc; those neighborhoods are popular, but Dallas has so much more. I like the idea of renting a place for maybe 6 months. Regarding prior posts: Southlake is nice but is a Fort Worth suburb, not Dallas. Oak Cliff can be nice if you like pre-WW2 homes and are in the good pockets (Oak Cliff is somewhat of a socio-economic cultural island).

1 mom found this helpful
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M.C.

answers from Dallas on

I recommend Richardson. It's just north of Dallas, so you can still access everything easily, without living in Dallas. (My commute to just north of downtown is 11.5 miles or usually between 20-30 minutes whether I take backroads or go US-75.) My 3-year-old daughter attends New Century Montessori Academy in north-east Richardson/Garland and loves it. It's on the other side of town from the neighborhood I love but don't live in, but we love the school.

Good luck with your move!

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E.H.

answers from Dallas on

Dallas is a great area and there are lots of wonderful neighborhoods and great school districts. I would suggest calling a realto and looking around BEFORE you pick any area out. I would highly recommend Sissy Pardue at Ellen Terry Realtors. She is not just a realtor but she can connect you to a plethora of service people and she just has a great network of contacts as well as very thorough follow up. Her goal is to be your realtor for life! She will take excellent care of you. Here is her contact info: [email protected]____.com ###-###-####.
Once you find that perfect home, give me a call and we will be happy to clean the carpets and tile for you! :-) COrnerstone Chem-Dry ###-###-####
Good luck and welcome to Dallas!
E. Herman
Cornerstone Chem-Dry
www.co2cleaners.com/cornerstone

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E.S.

answers from Dallas on

J., I agree with the idea of renting before buying. There are an absolute myriad of choices here -- many suburbs of Dallas and many different neighborhoods within Dallas, all having their own unique atmosphere. I strongly recommend Marty Marks with Virginia Cook Realtors for helping you with your transition. She is Vice President of Residential Sales and is a past President of the Texas Realtors Association. She is also consistently selected as one of the top realtors in the Dallas area -- she really knows her stuff! Her contact information is [email protected]____.com , or by phone at ###-###-####.

As far as my favorite area, I have to recommend Richardson. We are just north of Dallas -- we enjoy the close proximity to all that Dallas has to offer without many of the headaches. The RISD is one of the best school districts in the state, the city services are excellent, and the city is still AAA bond rated (even in this economy!). We also have some nationally known cultural events (the Wildflower Festival and Cottonwood Arts Festivals, for example), as well as the Eisemann Symphony Hall and the University of Texas at Dallas -- yes, it's actually in Richardson!

There are many friendly subdivisions within Richardson -- Canyon Creek is one of the best. It's an older, very close-knit neighborhood with an excellent elementary school where the parents really get involved. Most of the homes were originally built in the '60's and '70's, but many have been completely renovated. It is truly a charming area -- there are always lots of people out walking their dogs, playing or having picnics in the park, and just generally being great neighbors! And we have a terrific homeowner's association that is always looking out for us and represents us very well in city matters.

Welcome to Texas -- you're going to love it here!

E. Stone

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K.B.

answers from Dallas on

I just did this. We first moved to an appartment so we could get to know Dallas well. I didn't want to buy a house and then regret it. We only signed a 3 month lease on the apartment- which is about the only smart thing I did, because when we started looking for childcare all the good childcare facilities were full- and had 6 month waiting lists. We finally found good childcare 7 miles in the opposite direction of our commute- which added an hour to our commute each morning and evening.

Piece of advice number one- Find Childcare first, and move next to the childcare. I strongly recommend Carpe Diem or Creme De La Creme Plano.

Piece of advice number two- do not live anywhere where you have to take the 75 to or from work. That freeway is a nightmare.

We then moved to an appartment right next to our childcare, signed another 3 month lease. Again, very grateful we did this- in our time evaluating where we wanted to live we had changed our mind 3 different times. After being in Dallas for 6 months, getting to know the commutes, property values and the likes we got a KILLER deal on a house in Southlake.

If you want to make sure you get exactly what you want, I strongly recommend going through the hell of living in an apartment on a short term lease until you really understand Dallas. We love our house, we love our neighborhood and most importantly I love our childcare.

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C.S.

answers from Dallas on

You should consider Lakewood also (a great family friendly neighborhood just east of downtown with lots of young professionals and young families). I am a lawyer myself and work in Downtown Dallas and my family (husband and 2 boys) lives there. The commute is exceptional and you can find houses between $200k-$1M in our neighborhood. There are pretty good rental properties too in the neighborhood. Consider using Kelly Nolan at Ebby Lakewood - ###-###-####, [email protected]____.com luck!

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K.H.

answers from Dallas on

I highly recommend Lake Highlands! It is north of downtown and the commute is acceptable. Houses are great and so are the schools! There are many many childcare options for your one-year-old. I am moving to Austin from Dallas and already miss our Lake Highlands home!!

Highland Park is VERY nice and also very expensive. Schools are awesome.

Lakewood is also VERY nice and very expensive, plus this area is in DISD, so most families, as they can afford it, choose private schools.

Best of luck to you.

K.

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M.M.

answers from Dallas on

Hello.

I completely agree with the ladies that said to rent first. Great way to learn neighborhoods, churches, daycare options, commute time, distance from places of interest etc. Generally I think you will find the good daycare places are full, but likely you'll be able to get in shortly so don't feel discouraged.

I live in the M Streets (Lakewood is very sim yet East) which is 2 exits North of downtown. We chose it since we wanted trees (some burbs have all houses and few trees) and proximity to things like running around White Rock Lake or visiting the Zoo, etc. We didn't initially pick it for schools, but the Dallas schools we're associated with have definitely improved to the point we don't feel like we must move and families are moving in vs. leaving as they once were.
What we've come to appreciate is living near the Rail. The rail here is not extensive, but if it's near your home you can take it many many places including downtown. Some have said don't live along 75 or Central Expressway (most major roads have 2 different names). The rail runs along it so you don't need to drive it if you don't want to.
Good luck!

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D.A.

answers from Dallas on

I would also recommend Richardson. Have lived here 14 years and love it. The schools are excellent. Housing prices are low- can get large house from $150,000 to $250,000. The library is excellent and has many free programs for both kids and adults. I live near the Duck Creek and my kids love feeding and watching the ducks and turtles.

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G.C.

answers from Dallas on

Hello - Sparkman Club Estates - located in NW Dallas at Marsh and Royal. We have lived her over 10 years and love it. Very community oriented and a great place to raise your family. We have a community club and pool, neighborhood newsletter and activities throughout the year. It is like a small community in a big city. 10-15 minutes from downtown and near Love Field airport and DFW airport. We have several realtors that live in the area as well. Great selection of public and private schools. I cannot say enough about it. Feel free to email me at [email protected]____.com if you need more information or if I can help in any other way.

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M.S.

answers from Dallas on

We moved to Dallas a few years ago knowing absolutely no one, with 2 young boys. We decided on Highland Park because of schools. It has been an amazing experience. We have since had a daughter who is in elementary, a son in middle school and a 9th grade son. Kids walk to/from school, ride bikes around neighborhood and love the community. I have made great friend, too. Good luck!

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K.C.

answers from Dallas on

I moved here from Los Angeles and wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city life. We settled in Carrollton (Northern part) we love our neighborhood..couldn't ask for a better place to raise our kids. Coppell is very nice also and about a 20 mn drive from downtown. My realtor is awesome she knows Dallas like the back of her hand. Her name is Dee ###-###-####. She worked her butt off for us to find us exactly what we wanted and she did not want us to settle. Btw she knows her stuff when it comes to the school districts too. Good Luck

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C.A.

answers from Dallas on

We live in the Preston Hollow area and love it. We are north of downtown between Walnut Hill and Royal Ln just off of the Dallas North Tollway. My husband works in downtown and his commute is anywhere usually about 15 or 20 mins. I work part-time in Frisco (suburb north of Dallas) and my commute is only about 20 to 25 mins. Being a off the tollway allows us to get just about anywhere we want in the Dallas area in 10 or 15 mins.

When we bought our current house we used Lydia Player (http://lydiaplayer.com/) as our realtor and had a wonderful experience with her. She is very knowledgeable about the area and was extremely helpful when it came to finding the house we wanted in the price range we wanted. I highly recommend her.

Once you get here there are several Mom groups in the various neighborhoods. I'm a member of MOMS (you can find them on Meetup.com) and the NDECPTA (http://ndecpta.com/). I have really enjoyed both clubs and my son has made a lot of little buddies through them.

Good Luck and welcome to Dallas!

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