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Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-07-2004, 06:48 PM   #1
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Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

Compared real estate there to here in Minneapolis--- with no state tax, is starting to get my attention...

Anyone live there now or b/f?

TD
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 04:15 AM   #2
 
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

Hello Tommy! Most regulars know that I am a big booster for the Dallas area. Here is my story.

My post semi-retirement consulting gig was in Dallas
and lasted from 1994 to 1998. Prior to that I might have visited once. When looking for a warmer spot
to end our days, we considered a long list, including
outside the USA. Now, I am widely traveled inside
the US. I have visited and/or lived in almost all of the
lower 48. The main reason we picked the Dallas area
was my familiarity, but also in no particular order:

I mostly avoid cities but can tolerate Dallas pretty well.
Much warmer than where we live now. Snow very rare.
Low humidity in summer. Less buggy than Florida.
No state income taxes.
Reasonable (cheap) real estate prices.
Reasonable R.E. taxes. We own a condo and land,
no complaints.
Lots of big lakes and impoundments for fishing/boating.
Much more conservative state politically than Illinois, where we are now.
Gun friendly state. Concealed carry allowed (big issue
with me).
I like Texans. Very friendly IHMO.

I suppose I could have found many other places I liked
just fine. I got tired of looking and opted for an area
which I knew well. Saved me a lot of time and maybe I avoided
a big mistake. An example. When we were still looking
in Florida, we fell in love with a fairly new A-frame in the
woods in central Florida. Price seemed too good to be true and the home itself was charming. My initial offer was
countered and I never went back. Property sold
2 weeks later and I have no regrets. I was uncomfortable with the neighborhood (location location
location). Now, in Texas, I already knew the location
and pricing so it made investing a no-brainer.
Someone posted recently that you need to live somewhere a while before buying. I agree completely
and was lucky enough to end up in a place
which serves most of our ER requirements.

John Galt
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 08:29 AM   #3
 
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

Dallas is a great place to live, especially suburban Dallas. The actual city of Dallas has its share of problems, as do most urban centers, with schools, city government etc.

As far as costs go, home prices are reasonable in the suburbs, but real estate taxes are about 2.5% of actual appraised value (some suburbs more and some slightly less). Utilities are high however, especially in the summer. You really need to look at all the costs, not just the fact that there is no state income tax. Sales taxes are about 8.5% (not on food or medicine) and homeowners insurance is the absolute highest in the country because of hail storms and mold. We have had our own roof replaced twice in the last 5 years because of hail damage. That's what keeps the rates high.

Living in Dallas is still probably less expensive overall than Minnesota, but you have to look at all the numbers. By the way, there is a major difference in costs between Dallas and the Lake Texoma area, where I believe John Galt has his land and condo. Rural areas are quite a bit less expensive then metro areas.

Overall we have been very happy in the Dallas area. There is a lot to do as far as recreation and entertainment and there are 2 great airports with cheap air travel because of Southwest airlines, which is based here. Schools are very good and the weather is great in the winter, although we had a great, mild summer this year. The metro areas like Dallas, however, are expensive places to retire because unlike state taxes which go down when income goes down, high property taxes, homeowners insurance and utilities stay high regardless of income.

Good luck in your decision.
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 08:41 AM   #4
 
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

Oops! BarbaraAnne is right. Homeowners insurance is a negative. She is also right about us being near Lake Texoma (about 60 miles north of the Metroplex).
It's pretty rural, but that's part of its charm.

John Galt
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 09:05 AM   #5
 
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

BTW John, the Texoma area is a nice place to retire. We may consider it. We spent a long weekend a few years ago sailing with friends on Texoma and liked the area...

Nice scenery and more reasonable than big D, yet close enough to visit.
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 10:07 AM   #6
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

High homeowners insurance because of MOLD? Eeekkk. I take it that it is above and beyond your average fungus....is that a health issue for the area also?

Adventuregirl
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Hailstorms.
Old 09-08-2004, 10:32 AM   #7
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Hailstorms.

Gosh I miss living on the Mainland... thanks for the reminder!

I'm gonna have to explain to my kid what a "hailstorm" is.
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 10:35 AM   #8
 
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

Regarding Mold...

There are very few homes that ever develop mold. It is usually the result of a leak and the fact that new home construction is so tightly sealed that the water never properly dries up thereby creating mold. This is really nothing new and the "mold problem" has occured in many states not just Texas.

One reason insurance rates are high is that a few years ago there were some cases where insurers would not pay for repairs when the mold "infiltrated" the home because it was not taken care of immediately and were sued, with the homeowners winning extremely large judgements. As a result, other homeowners sued for minor mold damage and the insurers had many claims which cut into their profits. The insurers about 2 years ago changed coverage so that mold damage is no longer covered by homeowners insurance. Now the mold "problem" is no longer in the headlines and the prevailing opinion is that it is not a problem, but just a way for mold removal companies to have made a fortune on the backs of the home insurers. Mold has been around forever and if it is taken care of properly, it supposedly isn't a problem.

In the meantime, we have yet to see the insurance companies lower their premiums...Hmmm...


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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 11:32 AM   #9
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

John, do you pack a gun wherever you go?
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 01:18 PM   #10
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

We have the mold thing here in CA as well. In fact, some insurers stopped writing homeowners insurance in CA as a result.

Some types of mold, specifically some black molds, can cause severe health problems and even death. Many homes have had to be bulldozed to solve the problem. Combining the cost of cleanup or demolition with the health liability gets a little expensive.

A combination of things has created the problem Iron pipes installed many decades ago are starting to leak. Plastic plumbing that doesnt work well in the first place. And as mentioned, the drive to completely seal a home doesnt help. In fact I've seen a number of devices that you hook into a house that continously vent a small amount of interior air and exchange it with fresh exterior air. Its been found that many homes not only contain too much moisture but also gasses and chemical concentrations. I found that funny that people go to great lengths to seal up their homes then pay an extra grand for something to undo all of that.

In fact when you're selling a house in CA, you have to disclose if a water damage claim has been filed in the past 7 years. If so, many buyers will walk away and many insurance carriers wont insure the home.
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 01:33 PM   #11
 
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

Quote:
John, do you pack a gun wherever you go? *

Don't encourage him!
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 01:33 PM   #12
 
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

Quote:
Compared real estate there to here in Minneapolis--- * with no state tax, is starting to get my attention...

Anyone live there now or b/f?

TD
TD,

You get what you pay for
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 01:38 PM   #13
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

When it comes to politicians and taxation, I dont believe that statement is anywhere near true.
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 02:16 PM   #14
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

Quote:
When it comes to politicians and taxation, I dont believe that statement is anywhere near true.
That's not paying; that's larceny.
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 05:52 PM   #15
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

TD,

North Dallas and the suburbs farther north like
Richardson, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Celina and all of
North Central Texas are really excellent places to live.

Dallas is usually hot in the summer, but we really had
a cool one this year with only a few days over 100.
It snows only rarely and never lasts long. Except for
the occasional tornado or hailstorm the weather is
usually quite temperate.

The school systems in Richardson and Plano are some
of the best the state has to offer. Quite good, really.

Cheers,

Charlie
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-08-2004, 06:33 PM   #16
 
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

Cut-Throat is right. Don't get me started on guns
as it is my No. One hot button (tied with liberals).
I will just say this. If I lived in a state that allowed
concealed carry, I probably would not bother to get licensed. I just believe people should have the opportunity. Texas gives them that opportunity
and that appeals to me very much.

John Galt
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-14-2004, 07:07 PM   #17
 
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

I lived in the Dallas area for several years. I did not care for it at all. It was not much more than a massive concrete slab to me. Few parks, little green in general, hectic, etc.. If you are into shopping or an active church life, it may be a good choice (I am not). However, there are many good restaurants. Lake texoma is nice and still affordable.

I am still in TX but live in the Austin area now. So much nicer! It is smaller and green, it has beautifal parks, natural pools, an active festival and music scene etc.. It is politically and culturally much more diverse than Dallas. Public transportation is good. Lots of good places to eat. A typical 3/2/2 is 150-250K. 30 min outside of the city will be 30-60% less. RE tax is high at 2.2-2.5%. There is lake Travis just north of Austin, excellent for boating and nice beaches.

If you are considering TX, you may want to have a look at Austin too.
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-18-2004, 01:27 PM   #18
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

Austin seems like a great place to have an active retired lifestyle.

That 2.2% property tax seems outrages after now getting the benefits of prop 13 for california. My property tax is now 0.4% and enough reason for me to hang out here for the first few breaths of me FIRE life.

When I visited family in northern NJ last week - the hot topic (besides the passing tropical storms) was prop tax - everyone got a 20 to 25 % increase based on mandated re-assessments.

I think it was Peter Fonda who said, ' If you think you are free and own your propetry, stop paying the taxes and see who really owns it'

notTwian

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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-18-2004, 04:11 PM   #19
 
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

Everyone seems to like Austin. It's okay I guess,
if you like the city life. For me, if I wanted a city in Texas,
I would go for "Big D". But that's just me. I've been
all over the state but only lived in the Dallas metroplex.
Anyway, we are just country people, so Dallas or Austin, or Houston? It doesn't matter. None would be suitable for us to reside.

John Galt
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?
Old 09-29-2004, 04:27 AM   #20
 
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Re: Dallas, Texas....good place to live?

Hmm. I was about to post how Dallas rules and Austin drools, but since this is an ER forum perhaps Austin is better than my hometown.

Dallas is certainly a business oriented work hard kind of place. And while I can appreciate the desire to do nothing and play frisbee golf I think you have to earn it by working, saving ,and living within your means. Austin residents seem to subscribe to the movie Office Space's quote of 'Well you don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Just take a look at my cousin, he's broke, don't do ****. '

People tend to stay in Austin because it's so 'cool'. Wait tables with their masters degree since there are no jobs.

But on the other hand that might be a perfect place for ERing. Except the real estate tends to be more fully valued.

In Dallas we do not have all the beautiful outdoors. We do have to work harder to enjoy it. Go to white rock lake and ride/bike whatever. You will see TONS of beautiful people doing the same. Because there aren't a lot of choices of where to go. Makes for a fun time. Dallas has a great system of mountain bike trails. Yes, there are no mountains. But there are plenty of trails, wherever you are in the metroplex you can drive <30 minutes to get to a good trail.

Now we do have a higher than normal % of 'credit card millionaires' in Dallas than most places. You know, people that have BMWs, all the toys, along with the maxed out plastic. Speaking of plastic, the average breast size is higher than the national average and I'm sure it's not exactly natural. As much as I enjoy looking at it I can't believe that someone would spend $5k to put some plastic in their body to make other people want you more. Puleeeeze, get some self respect.

Allright, rants over. I must have had too much coffee just now.

Lurksalot
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