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Discussion Starter #1
I've been looking at Texas more seriously as a place to retire. I've been looking at the northeastern part of Dallas (Plano, Allan, McKinney, Frisco, The Colony, Wylie, Sachise, Rowlett) and at a town north of Houston (Conroe). The property taxes in Texas are staggering. Why are the taxes so darn high? For the Dallas area VMF'ers, how would you rate the suburbs that I've listed one to the other? Could you rank them 1 - 8 with 1 being the most desirable? Next, for Houston area members, is Conroe as nice as it looks on the internet? What are the drawbacks there? Lastly, I'm expecting much greater weather extremes in Dallas than in Houston. Is that true? What is the worst thing about the Houston area in terms of quality of living?
TIA for the help. I'm shopping for a white Stetson. ::
 

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I've been in Frisco for the past 12 years. For the area, you can't beat Frisco for the taxes. Cheapest tax rate around. Great city, low crime. Everything you could ever want, but too darn crowded. I'm in the middle of a deal to buy a couple of acres north of here in Gunter. It will make my daily commute ~50 miles each way but you gotta do what you gotta do. I like Wylie and it would be close to work but my chance to buy affordable land is past.
Plano/Allen/MsKinney = most is nice but $$. McKinney still has some rural areas.
Sachse (sp)/ Rowlette = More rural. Not much personal experience with them.
The Colony = not real impressed with. City seems to have been poorly planed. One way in/one way out. Tons of developement on the way in/out which ads to the congestion.

I can't exactly rate the cities because I don't know what you are looking for. The closer you get to Dallas, the bigger the city and the more people you get to deal with. If you want land then you will have to move out unless you are really wealthy.
 

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Anywhere you go in Texas it's lots cheaper than CA.
Plano, Allen, McKinney, Frisco, The Colony, Wylie, Sachsie, Rowlett will be hard to rate, as all of these are good, depends how you want your life setup - standard lot, 1/2 acre, 1 or 2 acres or 50+ acres, restaurants, family fun, or quiet place out of city rush.
Best way is to come down and meet with couple of guys to show you around, than you'll get the idea. Everyone has a different taste.
Taxes are high, but house prices are lots lover than CA and living standard a lot cheaper.
When you going further from Dallas, cheaper are property taxes.
::
 

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What is the worst thing about the Houston area in terms of quality of living?
1. The Humidity
2. The Pollution
3. The lack of Zoning (Crack houses and mansions within the same square mile, and no I am not kidding)
4. 3 times as many people
5. The Humidity

Did I mention the humidity?
 

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Keep in mind that - while property, sales, etc. taxes are higher here - there is NO State income tax.

I have I believe a unique perspective: I live in suburban NE Houston (not quite as north as Conroe) and telecommute and go to Plano/Frisco 4-5 days a month. Previously worked there for 8 years, commuting from Cedar Hill (South Dallas).

Frisco's low taxes might explain why everone and their sister is moving there. While in town, I sometimes stay in Prosper (north of Frisco): there are few things more surreal than being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a two lane road seemingly in the middle of nowhere (takes about 45 minutes to drive the 20 miles to Plano).

Since you're talking retirement the traffic won't be an issue. Frisco does have the most restaurants per capita I've seen, and an amazing variety at that.

What kind of environment do you prefer? Suburban N. Texas is wide open, previously-farm/ranch country, while Conroe is in the middle of a forest.

You'll get more home/land for your money in Conroe than North Texas. My house for example is about 30-40k more (on a smaller lot, no less) in Frisco than Houston.

Just my 2¢ BTW - if we're generalizing, I'll take crack houses over the chance of getting killed - Dallas has led the state in Crime stats for years. ::
 

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The Taxes are high because we do not have a state income tax.The problem with the Conroe area is the Gulf of Mexico.Very high humidity!I prefer the Wylie,Sachise area.The plano Allen area has very high traffic,Mckinney,Frisco,Colony have out grown the infrastructure.The Highways have not been able to keep up with the volume of peaple and cars.I prefer east of Dallas,Rockwall,Poetry,Terrell,Forney,Quinlin,you get more for your money(house,land,trees,country, etc..)and alot less of the big City problems.Just my .02!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the inputs. I really appreciate you guys taking the time to help inform me about your state. The stuff about the infrastructure being overloaded in Frisco, The Colony and Plano is certainly something you can't pick up using the internet real estate sites. Since I'm planning on retiring down there, the trade off between property and income taxes isn't so beneficial for me. Some places (like Frisco, Wylie and Conroe) seem to have fairly low taxes. I attributed that to their being more rural. Just how many ice storms do you guys get in Dallas on average each year?

BTW, my ideal home would be something around a 2000 sq. ft. 3/2 with a three car garage and a quarter of an acre of land. I'm looking for something suburban that would be close enough to the city to allow me to participate in car clubs, etc. Definitely not 50 miles out in the country.

One last question (not really ::). If you owned a non-air conditioned convertible would you rather drive it in the Dallas or Houston area?

Thanks again.
 

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None of my coupes have AC and I have been driving them 10 years all-year-around as my daily drivers.
 

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I live in the Grapevine/Colleyville area and love it. You get Dallas is 20 minutes and Ft. Worth is 15 minutes. DFW airport is 5 minutes and Dallas Mustang is 25 minutes. Lot sizes vary around 3/4 of an acre to 1 acre. Local Sonic always has hot rods and Jerry's Carbqeque is not to far away. Property tax is a bit high, but that is the price to live in Texas. We do have ice once or twice a year. We just had one last week and you try not to drive that night as it is clear the next day. We do get Hail every so often which is what insurance or a garage is for.

I grew up in Houston which is a different animal. Not much ice, but when a Hurricane or tropical storm is heading into the Gulf, you pucker up a bit. Guaranteed rain...Lots of it. Humitity is bad, but you get use to it. I happen to like Gulf fishing, so that is 30 minutes away. Although, you have plenty of lakes to choose from in Dallas including Lake Fork which is where most state records are caught.

Dallas economy is supported by American Airlines, South West Airlines, an Telecom. Houston is oil. Enron and Compaq was there, but almost non-existant although HP does still have buildings there.

I happen to prefer the pace of Ft. Worth over Dallas, but partial to Houston as I grew up there. Dallas has the Stars, Rangers, Cowboys, Mavericks, Horse Racing and NASCAR. Houston has the Texans, Astros, Rockets and Horse Racing.

All in All, Texans are great and both cities will keep you happy. It really depends what you are wanting to do with your retirement as that will push you to one or the other city.
 

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Seriously should consider central Texas. The size of the cities is smaller, but there's just as much offered. The Texas Hill Country... anywhere between Waco and San Antonio and points 100 miles west is really pretty and has a lot of heritage that the newer cities do not possess.
 

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Dallas economy is supported by American Airlines
Several good points, except these days I think American Airlines is supported by the Dallas economy! :joker:
 

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Good point....

My boys did a scouting "Go See it" at the American Airlines Corporate. They had an old Airplane and a lot of their history on display. It was fun to see.

Todd
 

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You should come on out to the Murphy/Parker area and look around. This area is growing at a rapid rate, but still has the country charm. I live on 2 acres, but I can be in downtown Garland or Plano in 10 minuets. The lots in this area can be had in any size you want, and the prices are still somewhat affordable. We do not have the traffic problems (not yet anyway) they have in west Plano and Lake Lavon is near by.

Lstar
 

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Seriously should consider central Texas. The size of the cities is smaller, but there's just as much offered. The Texas Hill Country... anywhere between Waco and San Antonio and points 100 miles west is really pretty and has a lot of heritage that the newer cities do not possess.
I totally agree. I lived in the region prior to taking a job in the Dallas area. My wife keeps bugging me about looking for a job around Waco. Not that the Dallas area is bad, we just like the other better.
 

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I agree with the comment about the Texas hill country. I think it's the best kept secret in Texas and plan to move there when I'm ready to retire. I liked Austin in the 70's and have lived in Dallas since the early 90's. Both are now a bit crowded for my tastes but there are always car events every weekend. :p (makes the crowds a little more tolerable). The hill country is beautiful and wide open and I don't think you can beat it for a place to retire. ::
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I agree with the comment about the Texas hill country. I think it's the best kept secret in Texas and plan to move there when I'm ready to retire. I liked Austin in the 70's and have lived in Dallas since the early 90's. Both are now a bit crowded for my tastes but there are always car events every weekend. :p (makes the crowds a little more tolerable). The hill country is beautiful and wide open and I don't think you can beat it for a place to retire. ::
You may have just hit on the major issue for me. Besides playing golf badly, my only hobby is playing with and showing my car(s). I want to be in an area where there is enough population to support car activities but is sufficiently "out of town" to permit a comfortable suburban life style. The hill country sounds interesting but is there enough car activity to keep me occupied? Some areas of CA are remote enough that you'd have the only vintage Mustang in a hundred miles (exageration maybe). Out in our northern central valley there's nothing from Sacramento until you hit Chico or Redding. Pretty lonely prospect for a car junkie like me. Not looking for a "ranchette". I hate gardening anyway (ask my wife). Anything from a standard 6000 sf lot to, maybe, a quarter or half acre but probably not interested in horse property or anything like that. The idea would have been alluring twenty years ago, but the kids are grown and the most I could imagine is maybe a ride-on mower. :: Would the hill country still work given those parameters?
 

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Absolutely! MOCA (Mustang Owners Club of Austin) has a large and active population... I'd bet it's second only to the North Texas Mustang Club in membership. They've put on a show ever year for the last 25 years and it usually runs 100-140 cars. Austin has several cruise nights also. If you want more, then look south around San Marcos...which will put you in beautiful country, and you'll have access to both Austin and San Antonio.

Nothing against DFW..I lived up there in the area for 35 years. I just think central Texas looks better, and is a little more laid back.
 
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