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Marksmu last won the day on June 26 2012

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  1. We bought a lot in 2011 when our daughter was 1.5 and our friends had begun complaining about Love elementary. Previous owner had torn the house down....No part of the lot is in the flood plain and we got in just before prices skyrocketed...I could sell now and come very close to doubling my investment if I wanted...there is a new home on my street for sale more than 2.5x what I spent to build my own...We stayed in the Heights another 1.5 years after buying the lot saving up money to build the house.....While there are multiple 9-12,000 sqft houses, they are still genuinely the exception. Most newer homes are in the 4800-6300sqft range. On my street of 20 homes, only 3 are over 7000 sqft, and 7 of the 20 are less than 5 years old. I do agree with you on the HOA, but my small pocket neighborhood does not have a HOA, and has extremely lax deed restrictions. For example, I am not permitted more than 2 goats, nor an outbuilding capable of holding more than 2 carriages and the accompanying horses required to pull it.... no cattle, and I must remove any horse droppings that fall on the shared street...also no flat roofs...my restrictions have not been updated since 1920 something, just renewed every 10 years or so to prevent people from subdividing the lots. I do not see much difference at all between the Heights and Memorial except for crime, schools, and the quantity of small one off restaurants....the thing I miss most about the Heights is Dry Creek...I loved that place, and I still go back. Both neighborhoods have lots of folks walking, the parks are crowded with families, dogs all over the place, the people are friendly, there are lots of good places to eat, and shop, etc. Really the independent restaurants is the only thing the Heights really has a strong advantage. I guess the Heights is also closer to the museums, but I MAY goto a museum or to the theater once, maybe twice a year...that is very very very low on my priority list (I think its low on just about everyones), and even the additional 8 or 9 minute drive to those places is inconsequential. It takes me longer to get all the kids in the car than it does to drive just about anywhere. I do agree with public school testing stupidity, but from what I have seen the mentality of studying FOR the test is much less prevalent where the pass rate is naturally very high.. I loved the Heights, I enjoyed my time, I come back frequently, I still have a rental property there...my move was for schools and my lifestyle....I do not think your choice to stay and go magnets is a bad choice at all...My point in chiming in was to answer the OP's original question...who is moving in and who is moving out, and why....I think schools drive the majority of the folks who leave the Heights out, and also the smaller home sizes are not as easy to grow a family in....That does not mean it cant be done, or that it cant be done comfortably, it just means more work keeping organized and having a place for everything. I grew up in a large house, on acreage in the suburbs, my natural tendancy is to be more comfortable with more space....others grew up in small homes, or are compelled by the small house lifestyle...to each their own. Neither is right or wrong. And conclusion, I tend to agree that private schools are about 1 year ahead of public...you have to be in all PreAP public to keep up with the private schools, and those classes are alot to balance with athletics and other extra curriculars, especially when so many of your kids peers are not doing the extra work....I think private schools tend to prepare the children for college better than public, b/c the expectation of success is more constant, but the sheltering is a bit of an eye opener when they do finally get to college.
  2. According to the police blotter that comes out weekly, the most common crime is identity theft...Followed by arrests for traffic stops with outstanding warrants, and then vehicles being broken into at church properties during drop off/pick up. I do not see much on the DUI/DWI. Memorial HS is not all that, but it is substantially better than all of the non-magent HISD schools...It does not have the problem with violent gangs and other issues that plague many other inner city schools...that alone makes it easier for kids to succeed, but it is not the sole issue....I completely agree 100% that education is heavily dependent on the parents and parental involvement. However, I firmly believe that kids with involved parents will eventually search out, find, associate with others who are pushed/driven in the same way they are. While not always the case, I think that if a parent pushes his/her child to do well and does not accept failure or poor results that the child will over time succeed....My younger brother is a great example...He is 14 years younger than I am, and my parents push hard about the importance of education. Anything less than an A- is unacceptable to them....His core group of friends in Junior High (Friendswood) turned to partying and soft drugs and being cool, and stopped caring about school. Because my parents stayed on him and forced him to succeed, he gradually moved to a different group of friends who were more in line with how he was being raised. He remained friendly with the other kids, but they were not his primary group of friends any longer...Especially after they started getting arrested for drinking, weed, and breaking curfew. My point of that seemingly random story, is that I do believe certain income levels, combined with heavy the heavy emphasis on education create opportunities for kids to succeed substantially more often than not. Most kids will seek out friends who share the same common core values about education and drugs, etc... It is not to say that people can be successful and achieve great things at any school...it is acknowledging the politically unpopular fact that income creates opportunity, and more income creates more opportunity. Parents with the means to ensure their children's success are usually successful. My own daughter is quite stubborn, so she could be the exception,but we will see.
  3. The house is in Memorial, the proximity of I-10 and Bunker Hill....,my commute for me is actually shorter since I work in Pearland and can just take the beltway around now...My wife's commute went from 15 minutes to between 23 and 35 depending on how bad the traffic is... The crime is substantially different due to the substantially larger police presence over a very small area. I have also been a firm believer that the Heights crime is driven in large part by the street grid (which makes traffic in the Heights a breeze)...it makes it SO easy for a criminal to get in/out of the heights using back roads. Also the proximity to I10, 610, and 45 make a freeway exit quick and easy. In regards to a 2nd house, I do not have one, but I also do not have the need for one....Between my wife's family and my own, we have multiple places we can go to get-away....but traveling with 3 young kids is still a lot of work, so presently we dont venture must past the ranch, or the in laws beach house. Finally, as to the other poster who does not want to pay the bills/upkeep on a larger house - We are a family of 5 with 3 kids under 5 plus 2 big dogs, with frequent guests (in laws come at least 1x/week from out of town) The additional space does not need to be cleaned as frequently since its not as heavily used as when we were in a 2300 sqft house... about 700 sqft is a home office, which my wife utilizes to cut down on commuting...so the space is very well utilized. It is a new house - LEED construction so the bills on this house are actually less than my home in the Heights...My highest summer bill was $300 (Highest in Heights was $390), highest winter bill (gas) was $90....average is about $150/month, so its not really that bad, and it is tremendously more comfortable for a host of reasons. Taxes are much worse, but that is expected. The only thing that takes more time is the yard, but I do my own yard, so I do not mind...I would rather do my own yard than goto a gym, so I use the yard as my weekend exercise.
  4. We talked to other parents who we knew had kids in Love. We only knew about 5 or 6 of them, but none of them chose to return after their first year. Complaints ranged from minor issues like the facility was old, teachers had too many kids, their children did not make friends b/c english was not primary language for much of the class to other more significant complaints such as other kids in West U, River Oaks & Memorial, were getting assignments that were significantly more advanced than their own kids were, resources such as Bob Books and other materials were not available..issues that pop up based upon resources which are clearly economic in nature. I did not take tour the school b/c I respected these opinions. Im not saying anyone was wrong, but the parents I knew who tried all quit, and I share a great deal in common with them and it was enough for me to make the decision.
  5. I moved into the Heights in 2006....we moved out of the Heights in August of 2012....during that time we had 2 kids....we now have 3. We moved to the Heights b/c it was close to my wife's job, and lots of places to go out and eat/drink...it was a great place to be during that 6 year time frame....much better before we had kids. What motivated me to leave the Heights was schools and tremendous levels of petty crime. I was zoned to LOVE, it was and remains very bad...its pretty darn hard to find a bad elementary schools, but there sits Love...a bad elementary school.....As to the crime it got VERY old to have double and triple check that the gates were locked, nothing could be seen in your car EVER even if your car was in your driveway behind a gate, that your garage was closed, that your alarm was set, that your patio furniture and plants were locked to the porch with a security chain, etc....We got our detached garage broken into and I lost a mess of tools, and that was the last straw. During the time I lived in the Heights my truck was broken into twice - both times NOTHING was visible...they went straight to my console...one time they stole my kids cooler which contained breast milk. While there was not much violent crime, the petty crime is and remains a HUGE issue. I still maintain a rental home in the Heights, and a nextdoor account, so I know nothing crime wise has improved. We considered moving within the Heights to a house zoned to Harvard, but why would anyone do that? You get a few years there while your first kid is in elementary then you have to sell again and pull number 2 to a different school....HCAD also gets to tax you for full value b/c you have moved and then you are still looking for a middle school and private school....all the while the rest of Houston has appreciated as well making it more difficult to afford a new house somewhere the schools are not awful. The cost of private school allows you with 2 children to spend nearly $800,000 more on a house over the course of 12 years if you move(interest expense only)...that is with 2 kids....if you bump it up to 3, its well over $1,000,000 more you can invest in a house. Consider your typical house in the Heights now is approaching, if not exceeding $650,000 and you can see why moving makes sense....we moved from a 2300sqft house on a 6600 sqft lot, to a 6600sqft house on a 43,000sqft lot, with virtually no crime and excellent schools. My kids are surrounded by competitive children who are well ahead of virtually all their peirs, instead of kids still learning to speak english, write their name or identify letters....Cost difference was more than the Heights, but will be recouped over the 12 years we stay there....heck in just 3 years its appreciated over 40% Also the Heights is not actually very diverse...it may be ethnically diverse, but politically and economically, not so much. Most families moving in are dual income with no kids, or with young kids. An overwhelming majority of them are professionals (attorneys, CPA, etc) extremely liberal, and predominately white. These people are anti-everything....neighborhood changes, house changes, guns, you name it....they are basically your salon.com readers....that does not fit my political views, nor is it how desire my kids to be raised so, the move was simple....spend the money now, get the BEST for my kids, recoup when we downsize after they leave. Not everyone has the means to spend twice as much on their home, but about half of the new coming Heights residents do. They are choosing the Heights either b/c its cool, its close to work, or because they want to be surrounded by other white liberals who hate change.
  6. They do this all the time. The appraiser measures the outside, and just creates a magical number whether its right or wrong. Correct them and your appraisal will drop drastically. HCAD calculates their value on a $/ft basis. My new house they had the square footage wrong by more than 1,700 sqft. When I corrected them by bringing the floor plan submitted to the city it dropped my appraised value by the price of a small house. They had attic space as finished space b/c there were windows in the attic, and b/c I used foam insulation and the attic is technically conditioned space. But its still attic, and they corrected it.
  7. I think most of the homes that are still "pending" are pending for a reason...Either the house was remodeled, is a new home, had a pool, or some other upgrade installed, etc. Basically if you pulled a permit this year to do anything at all, they are going to look at it much closer. My house is pending, but it's b/c it was not finished on Jan 1...it was only about 60% complete.
  8. My rental property (admittedly a tear down structure on a 6600sqft lot in the west historic district), with zero improvements made in the last 6 years magically had the improvement value jump $3600, while the land jumped $33,000...land is now $50/ft....Tough to protest the land, but I think I could argue the house has negative value, as nobody would ever keep it....its a non-historic home that would easily get approval to demolish. We have had the property since 2009 and the appreciation alone is 221% according to HCAD....however, looking at compareable sales we are actually approaching around 275% Sucks to be a renter in the Heights....we have only ever adjusted the rent to cover the new taxes.
  9. The petition process was illegitimate as well. I would guess that at least 30% of the people who signed the petition originally no longer supported what was occurring when the time came. There were multiple people just on this site who signed and wished to withdraw their signature. ALL of them were told it could not be withdrawn. People who signed the petition signed up for one thing, and their signatures were then used against their will to do another thing..the petitions the HHA collected were just reworded and the signatures were re-used. There is absolutely ZERO chance that the petition would hold up to the same legal standard as the City is currently requiring of the pastors who oppose the gay rights ordinance....its a complete 100% double standard. The city is playing politics with the legal system. It is indeed a VERY dangerous game.
  10. I've got a 6600 sq ft lot that is a non-contributing rental property in the WD that has a house that I keep looking nice, even though the house itself is literally worth less than the new air conditioner I put on it last year. The original home on this property burned down sometime in the 60's and a modular home was built in its place, its not historic in any way, heck, it has vinyl siding....I would get a non-contributing designation with ease...(I should probably do that now before vinyl becomes hisotric) I keep it b/c its property value continues to climb with the popularity of the Heights....I bought it years ago, when I was thinking about a custom build in the Heights, as opposed to an existing structure...changed my mind b/c schools suck - but I can say with 100% certainty that the Ordinance hurts my chances of getting maximum value for this property...Nobody wants to jump through the hoops to build a smaller new house, on a big lot, when that lot cost is over $400,000 now...People who can afford a $400,000 lot want a $1,000,000 house, and its going to have to be SUPER fancy to get there with a 2500sqft structure thanks to the stupid ordinance.
  11. Translation....its bigger than mine, and yours cant be bigger than mine because I dont like houses to be bigger than mine. Secondary Interpretation - it may look fine and good b/c NOBODY IN THE WORLD can tell the difference between a 33' ridge height and a 32' ridge height without a freaking measuring tape - but Its not about just YOUR property...if EVERYONE else added a whole foot of rise, just think of the horrors that would befall the poor folks in one story homes....endless night as the towering behemoth next door wipes out all sources of natural light...Grass that slowly decays and eventually dies a painful death due to lack of sun...flowers/plants wilting away, breezes cut off by monstrous construction making their once glorious porches too hot/miserable to even be able to enjoy...endless death until all that is left is a small old house that the owner paid $225,000 to purchase is reduced to a $500,000 lot. This painful and heart wrenching scenario will play out over and over again until all that is left is beautiful new construction full of happy homeowners who don't interject themselves into everyone else's business continually. THE HORROR!
  12. Your property rights END at your property line PERIOD. You have no right to any aspect of that which you do not own. Your value goes up every time a structure 10x-20x nicer than yours is constructed...Whatever proportionate decline in your structure value you lose, is increased by the value in your dirt. Your value will never be fully diminished so long as there are people like you who want to live in a small house... I do not agree with anything you have said, and I do not believe that the Heights is historic in any way. Its nothing more than Katy in another 40 years....I guess we should enact protections NOW to ensure that Katy tract homes are preserved in their current state. Its absurd. There is nothing historic about a hold house where NOTHING important happened not that long ago. And there was NEVER a majority of property owners who think like you do...people like you keep saying that but its an outright complete lie. There was never anything close to a majority....There was collusion with the city by well connected liberals who want to inflict their idea of what a neighborhood should like on everyone else. There needs to be a REAL vote. Where EACH property owner gets 1 vote for each property they own, regardless of how many homes they own, where the City gets zero votes, and where not voting means absolutely nothing...I will gladly sell my properties and walk away if we can have that done and the neighborhood still wants the ordinance. It won't ever happen though b/c the ordinance would never pass if it were properly voted on. If you can not acknowledge that the vote was stolen, then there is no point in talking to you because you are either completely ignorant, or a liar. It was passed by 1) not returning a ballot means you were in favor of the ordinance 2) 1 vote per person, not per property 3) City property was allowed to vote 4) city was allowed to vote more than once 5) ballot or survey was sent over Christmas holiday in a non-descript envelope with a short time period to return 6) Mayor Parker sent a letter on official city letterhead encouraging people not to return to the ballot 7) the mis-information by the pro ordinance people was overwhelming. I will concede defeat the day that an honest vote is taken, until then I firmly believe that each supporter of this ordinance is a dishonest thief who used the city to steal the rights from private property owners to achieve that which they could not achieve honestly.
  13. Im Ok repealing it in its entirety. The dirt is now too expensive for it to turn into anything that is genuinely sub-par. Enact minimum lot line restrictions that will prevent town homes on the interior streets of teh neighborhoods and then let the people decide for themselves what they want to build. The days of the townhomes being built all over the heights is pretty much coming to an end....its now restricted to the corners of busy streets because those are the only places the dirt is cheap enough...and that is actually a good thing....wall to wall townhomes insulate road noise quite effectively for the smaller bungalows behind them. Most people, including builders, are buying and building beautiful homes...that fit the lifestyle of today's family....I dont care about the history of small old houses in Houston at all and I am flat out honest about it...I could not care less about them, I think they are cute, but would never in a million years want to live in one, and I do not think current and future owners should have to be at the whim of some group who does care.
  14. s3mh repeats things she hears over and over again until she believes them herself...is astounding. I watched several Tricon homes being built in 06/07 and none had a single pre-fab cabinet in them. They may have prefab now, I don't know - but none did then. Also, some of the absolute best, most expensive cabinets you can buy are pre-fabricated...or at least fabricated off site. There are multiple cabinet companies just here in Houston that do precise measurements of the home, then build the cabinets off site with CNC machines, that are orders of magnitude nicer than any carpenter could ever build on site. I've seen $10,000,000 custom homes with these off site built cabinets in them...heck, I bought some after seeing how much nicer they are. You can get them built off site, to precise dimensions, with oven cured paint that is 25x more durable than anything that could ever be done on site. With the oven cured paint, you can scrub it, knick it, wash it, basically anything short of abuse it, and it wont come off, unlike site painted cabinets, that will get knicks just from your fingernails missing a pull.
  15. It may shock you, but in 2006, 2007 Tricon did not have any pre-fab cabinets in their stand alone units....They were all site built from oak or poplar, and they all had a good deal of detailed molding work in them. I looked at several and all were being built on site with lots of milled features. Also in 2006, 2007 when they were really building the stand alone homes (non-garage front facing), everything was granite & travertine in all builds, half the models had a small sunroom off the breakfast room...nobody was using marble or white subway tiles...marble & subway tiles did not get popular again until about 2011 or so, when the kitchen trends all switched from stained or painted wood back to white & marble, etc... In fact, with the exception of the farmhouse sink - everything that Tricon did that you say sucks, is EXACTLY what was popular in 2006/2007....I dont know what they are building now, but they built exactly what everyone (even full blown custom homes) were building at the time. I think you are just so biased against builders as you can not acknowledge what they were really doing. My point is, everything you call "Faux" or "Mc" (fill in derogatory word) is what they were building...The floor plans, the outside look (minus real wood siding) all were nearly identical. Just shows that you really cant pleased with anything new, unless it has a name that you dont associate with mass production.
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