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txcat84

Need help narrowing choices

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So, succinctly, here's what I'm looking at:

 

Moving next year and have a $350k budget.

 

Love the turn-key nature of master-planned communities, but there are SO MANY ROUND HERE! That said, would also not mind a unique or older house and spending a litte time to make it "home".

 

About us/ a few notes:

 

- Wife is a nurse so commute typically is no biggie for her. I work downtown, but am only in the office 1-3 days a week. Rest of the time I could be anywhere from Kingsville to Baton Rouge.

 

- Wife loves the beach life. I fear the hurricane life. We're not adverse to lakes either. In fact, I would say water vicinity will play a major role because I fish. A LOT. And not just stroll down to the local pond with a fountain and catch bluegill on a hotdog weenie. I mean, let's go beat up the water and fry up some catfish, bass or speckled trout at the end of the day.

 

- Want water vicinity, being "on" the water not as big a deal, but hey, who doesn't wat to live waterside.

 

- Schools will be a big deal.....eventually. We have a 6 month old and although i wouldn't mind putting him in private schools through elementary, after that i would prefer not to be broke.

 

Here are the places we are leaning and our thoughts so far:

 

Kingwood/Summerwood: I'm leaning this way. Wife prefers the beach. Generation park could be great for development, and yeah, it's just Lake Houston, but I this area may be really nice one day. Schools may come along over the next decade too. But will this area just be East East Houston one day?

 

Clearlake/Seabrook/Webster: So much ground to cover here. Where do I even start? Everything feels very old and not very vibrant over there. Am I offbase? What are the prospects for development there vs. a slow slide into deterioration? Easy access to Galveston and quick access to a boat launch though...

 

Friendswood/Pearland: We've heard nothing but great things, but where are the good neighborhoods/places to avoid? We're kind of lumping Friendswood/pearland  into the Clearlake/Seabrook pile righ now making even more ground to cover.

 

Cypress: Some great areas (Towne Lake, Bridgeland etc.), but...290. This would also put us the furthest from fun things we like to do downtown.

 

So all that considered, can anyone chime in with their opinion? Maybe know of a hidden gem of a community or something we havent considered?

 

Sorry so long.

 

 

 

 

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- Schools will be a big deal.....eventually. We have a 6 month old and although i wouldn't mind putting him in private schools through elementary, after that i would prefer not to be broke.

 

Here are the places we are leaning and our thoughts so far:

 

Clearlake/Seabrook/Webster: So much ground to cover here. Where do I even start? Everything feels very old and not very vibrant over there. Am I offbase? What are the prospects for development there vs. a slow slide into deterioration? Easy access to Galveston and quick access to a boat launch though...

 

Friendswood/Pearland: We've heard nothing but great things, but where are the good neighborhoods/places to avoid? We're kind of lumping Friendswood/pearland  into the Clearlake/Seabrook pile righ now making even more ground to cover.

 

I'll speak only to the areas I'm currently really familiar with.

 

Clear Lake/League City/Seabrook/Webster... all fast growing (not quite as bad as Katy or Cypress etc) but still growing none the less.

 

The Clear Lake area is "older" but the area is still the only place where you'll always have access to salt water, and quickly I might add without having to life on the island - where schools suck.

 

Seabrook is older, but moving to develop their waterfront into a Kemah boardwalk sort of thing, but with less games and more shops (or so I've read). 

 

League City - is the big town in this particular area (over 90,000 right now, probably closer to 100k).  There are developments moving forward in this area that will enliven it some, and bring new life into the mix, right now it feels like a big stretch of unincorporated suburbs with developments here and there.  It needs a more cohesive "downtown" (which there is an old town, actually).  I feel like this area will eventually be reworked over time into a more 24-7 sort of civic destination. 

 

Webster is questionable; mostly commercial developments and probably not a good place to live/move to.

 

All of these are privy to having access to one of the best school districts in Houston: Clear Creek ISD.  Its a large school district with 5 high schools (probably soon 6), and for a large district its a good district, well run, teachers paid fairly well, happy with leadership etc.  Probably one of the top reasons to move to the area - particularly if you're thinking of your children.

 

Friendswood/Pearland: Also pretty good schools.  Friendswood is older, but fairly stable. The city itself controls development to the extent you'll probably never see any new apartments built there.  Older homes, but still a nice community.  Pearland is growing rapidly, and also adding lots of new development.  It is probably more diverse than League City and some other major suburbs in and around.  Pearland is also adding more lifestyle centers than elsewhere, if that's important?

 

League City/Webster/Seabrook - probably about 45min - 1hr on weekday commutes in bad traffic to DT.  I-45 is being widened and worked on, so weekend traffic is rough.

 

Pearland - about 40 mins to DT, its closer in lesser traffic than just about any other major suburb around.  TxDot/Harris Toll Road assoc. plan on adding a tollway down the middle median of 288 to Pearland in the future.

 

Thats my two cents.  Best of luck.  If you have any specific questions about League City area (where I reside) I'll be happy to help.

 

In my opinion Sugar Land and The Woodlands are the most "happening" suburbs in the area.  But for 350k you can probably find a decent home inner Beltway?  Depends on what you want.  Schools would be either great, or terrible (such is HISD's reputation).

Edited by arche_757

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If you're concerned about hurricanes, I'd ask around to find out how each community, especially south of town, fared during hurricane Ike.  Also ask about the evacuations, if you really want to hear some tales.  If you want to be off the coast a little more and closer to fishing west of Houston, Sugar Land and vicinity might be worth a look.  It's got some freeway and tollway connectivity and is not too far from some of the more interesting parts of town.  Plus I believe they have commuter bus service of some sort to TMC, where you could catch a train downtown.

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I'll put my $.02 worth - I lived in New Territory in Sugarland about 10 years ago. People were friendly, schools were okay, houses were cheaper than inside Houston but commute can really grind on you.

So, I might go out on a limb and suggest looking at older homes in the southern part of the old third ward. Say south of Alabama, east of 288 and West of TSU. One of my kids has just finished looking for a home in this area. Your price range of $350,000. Will get you a nice 3 bedroom, probably remodeled or a bigger home that you might remodel yourself. The location makes commute to med center or downtown very convenient. The area has a mix of well kept, moderate and run down fixer-uppers plus a few fabulous renovations. The yards are nice sized and many of the trees are huge.

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Just to confuse things, I'm throwing my vote in a northeasterly direction, around Kingwood/Atascocita/Summerwood.  In part this is familiarity, since I've always had family around there, but the schools seem to be good and the area seems to have remained stable, which is something important to consider for older developments.  Hurricane problems are few, although there has been periodic flooding of Lake Houston.  

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For a good commute to the TMC and Downtown with your budget, you can also look at SW part of 610 (Westbury, etc.). I'm nearby just inside 610, love the water, and getting to Galveston is only 50 minutes. Schools will be dif by the time your kids are in JH. We're zoned to Bellaire and Pershing and all our doctor neighbors send their kids there. NRG Stadium and Braes Bayou bike trails aren't far so there are also fun things to do nearby.

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