Moving to Dallas? Great Resources for House Hunting
Moving to or around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex can be a daunting task. With an area comprised of almost 10,000 square miles, 13 counties, 12 cities with more than 100,000 residents (not counting Dallas and Fort Worth), and 7.4 million people, it has something for everyone. You want big city lights? They got it. Leafy suburban neighborhoods? Check. Small-town rural? Got that too. With a thousand-plus neighborhoods dotting the landscape, the perfect neighborhood for some, won’t be right for others. As with beauty, the perfect location is in the eyes of the beholder.
Fortunately, there are plenty of great resources for navigating a new home search, whether your move is local or you’re a new arrival to the DFW scene. We could toot our own horn here at LocaLyfe (we are all about personalized online home search — finding the local life that fits your style), but today we want to give a shout out to some great resources you can use for discovering the DFW area when looking for a new home.
A good place to start are popular local magazines that do a nice job of breaking down neighborhoods from a macro to micro perspective (think large neighborhoods and the smaller neighborhoods often within those larger ones).
For Dallas, turn to DMagazine which does a great job of providing statistics plus descriptive and anecdotal information that provides a “feel” for the neighborhoods they cover. We especially like the articles written by locals
from those neighborhoods providing a flavor for what it’s like to live there, like this observation from Christine Allison on Highland Park:
It’s a bit of a dream to live in a real neighborhood, with sidewalks and leafy trees and tidy yards. It’s the kind of place where you get a call at 11 p.m. from the Highland Park police because you left the garage door open and might want to close it. It’s a place where people deliver homemade cherry pies when you move in and have block parties just because.
Fort Worth has their version of a neighborhood guide in Fort Worth Magazine. While it comes out lighter on the information offering overall, it has a handy breakdown of neighborhoods. And the neighborhood descriptions are useful to get a feel for life in the neighborhood, like this excerpt from their Fairmont neighborhood listing:
Eight years ago, this charming neighborhood would have held
a spot firmly planted in the “up and comers” category. But, as of
now, it has come. Thanks to nearby Magnolia Avenue and the bevy of bars, restaurants, food trucks, coffee shops and parks, it is certifiably walkable. Residents can leave the car at home, walk to Magnolia Avenue, grab some wheels from the B-cycle station and make it to most areas of Fort Worth without an engine.
And don’t forget to get help directly from the people who live (or have lived) in the area. Both Reddit and Quora have message boards specifically focused on providing advice to newcomers.
Reddit has numerous subreddits for moving to Dallas. If you are willing to look past the occasional random comments, some snarky and off point, you’ll find plenty of good nuggets there from locals (useful for moving to or just around Dallas), like this one from user marymek:
"All depends on what you are looking for...
Have money and want good schools? Highland Park/University Park
Young single - Uptown
'Hip' young single - Deep Ellum
Professional - Addison, Irving, Far North Dallas
Don't mind the suburbs and want good schools - anywhere in Richardson
ISD is a good start, Plano is good, as is Allen. Do your research on the
best 'pockets' within those areas
Long drive but more affordable and good schools - McKinney, Prosper "
Quora’s responses to the question What should someone know before moving to Dallas? lack the snarkiness and randomness that sometimes comes through on Reddit. It has numerous lengthier responses that provide more detail about various cities and aspects of Dallas-Fort Worth life (like weather, highway system, public transit, schools, behavioral, etc.), and is sometimes more tutorial for the uninitiated. For example, Karen Marie Shelton’s sage weather-related advice provides newcomers useful criteria when deciding on the next home to buy or rent in Dallas-Fort worth:
Covered Parking is a Very Wise Choice in Dallas - Whether you decide to rent or lease an apartment or buy a residence, it’s to your advantage to have some sort of safe haven for your car. Many newcomers to the Dallas area are shocked when they experience their first major hail storm. Cars sustain significant damage. The hail storms in DFW can take out windshields in a flash. If you can’t find a place with a garage, car port or similar covering, make sure you have great insurance with a low deductible for hail damage.
You can run other searches on Quora to drill down deeper into information about neighborhoods, as well. Both Reddit and Quora offer lots of different search options once you are under the Dallas (or Fort Worth) chains.
We love Candy’s Dirt. It’s a blog that has something for everyone, whether a buyer, seller, developer, real estate agent or other service provider. First off, the articles are written by real writers, they come from journalism backgrounds and it shows up in the easy-to-read posts they author. They also capture relevant articles, events and reports that are centered on or have some impact on real estate in DFW (like neighborhoods, builders, agents, design, landscape and relocation), and they do a good job of curating the list. Particularly helpful for our purposes, they provide nice overviews on a variety of Dallas neighborhoods, including history and characteristics, and each has a call-out on what makes it special to Candy’s Dirt, like this one on Lakewood:
Why We Love It: Lakewood feels like an intimate enclave, and the fact that it hugs Dallas’ Crown Jewel, White Rock Lake, makes it even more attractive. There’s something for everyone in Lakewood, too, from estates, luxurious layouts, condos with a view, to petite starter homes for couples and young families.
Lakewood is a nature-lover’s dream, with plenty of room to find your perfect outdoor experience. And with the Lakewood Early Childhood PTA and Lakewood Neighborhood Association, you’ll find plenty of great neighbors and friends.