Operation: Not Be Homeless

Well, as most of you know, Jesse and I were extremely interested in buying a house when we got out here to Dallas. We did a ton of research ahead of time and realized that it’s a definite buyer’s market out here- ripe for the picking. Whenever I told anyone about the cheap prices of houses in Texas, they always said things like, “Well, that’s because it’s ugly out there”, or, “Oh, anywhere with that big of houses- you know it has to be just MISERABLE weather!!”

Well, surprisingly, neither of those is true- it’s flat out gorgeous out here! Just 10 min. north of Dallas are beautiful towns sitting on the edge of lakes, nestled amongst trees. Not only that, but most of the construction (even the apartments) that they do out here is brick, so all of the houses look superb, in my opinion. Plus, they are huge. And I mean huge. For less than $400,000 you can own a house with 3 separate wings (around 5,000 sq/ft). Many of the homes that I teach piano in are actual castles, complete with moats.

ANYWAYS, we were very interested in buying a house- both as a long term investment, and as a place to live in the meantime. However, we came to the long and drawn out conclusion that as good of an investment as this might be, it was not conducive to our lifestyle. For example, the areas that are the best for investing are those with the amazing school districts like Southlake, Grapevine and Coppell. When I say amazing school districts, I mean amazing. Some of this is measured by their athletic teams (Southlake football games are frequently broadcasted on ESPN) with facilities better than most State colleges.

Now, their is no such thing as income tax in Texas. So how do they pay for the schools, you may ask? HEFTY PROPERTY tax (up to %25). And guess which 3 cities have the highest? Bingo. The three that are the best for investing. Now, if we had kids to send to these great schools, it would be worth it. But then…we would have kids. And that’s not conducive to any lifestyle, is it??

Other things that were not conducive to our fast-paced lifestyle included house maintenance. We thought about solving this problem with a townhome, but the HOA dues in the nicer areas are to the tune of $300-400/mo. There was also the option of buying a brand new home on the outskirt of town for around 80k (yeah, for real), but again, our lifestyles include a ton of driving that DOESN’T happen on the edge of town.

So, as investments go, it was a good idea. As far as the way our lives are structured for the time being, it would have been a distraction from the academic reasons that we moved here. So, after three weeks of searching, we turned to renting. We knew right away that we didn’t want to rent a house, mainly because the apartment complexes are soooo dang good around here! They are like mini cities with everything you could ever need. One complex’s fitness center actually included a boxing ring! Most have free tanning salons, a few dry cleaning services, restaurants, grocery stores, and even car washes on the premises.

So, we turned our attention to the nicer, more luxury style apartments, since even these are not comparable to prices in LA. We realized that if there was ever a time in our lives to live it big in something like a loft or penthouse, this was it. I mentioned what we were doing to a few of my piano lesson moms and they got this wistful look in their eye and said, “Man! If I didn’t have kids and could go back and do it all over again….”

Sooooo, we put in our deposit for one today! Here’s the website, iffin you want to see. tuscanvillasapartments.com. Our floorplan is A2 with the optional sitting room/office. We’ve decided to stick with this floor plan for a while, and then upgrade to a two bedroom after 6 months if we decide that we would like more room. There’s also a sweet 24 hr. fitness center right next to the lobby, so I won’t need a gym membership!

Anyways, this completes Operation: Not Be Homeless for the time being. Tune in later for more!

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