Settling In

Moving to a new town or city can be overwhelming. Where are the best schools? Is there public transportation nearby? Is it safe to walk in the evening? Is there entertainment within walking distance? What is the commute to and from work like during rush hour? Should we rent or buy? Do we want to live in the city or the suburbs. How do we find new friends?

We were fortunate in this move to the DFW Metroplex in that our children were all grown and we could focus on our needs. We chose to postpone the critical decision of where to purchase a home until we were able to really experience the city and surrounding suburbs. By renting an apartment in the heart of the city we were able to walk the city center and experience downtown Dallas. We could walk to Deep Ellum for dining and entertainment. We could walk to Downtown and the West End for shopping, concerts, and museums. We could walk uptown and go to Klyde Warren Park. We walked the around Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor museum. We celebrated our anniversary atop the Reunion Tower at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant. We took weekend excursions to Grapevine to see the Gaylord Resort at Christmas, to Frisco to see The Star, to Arlington to visit AT&T stadium and attend the state High School football championship. We walked the Arboretum and White Rock Lake trail. Spent time at Bass Pro Shop just browsing and shopping. Attended the daily cattle drive in Fort Worth and we took in Billy Bob's. We worked hard to learn the on ramp / off ramp system where I-35 and I-30 intersect, the "Canyon", and the 75/45/30 interchange. GPS is of little help in this tangle of freeways.

After six months of exploring we found ourselves attracted to two dissimilar areas: The Bishop Arts District with its mid-century craftsman homes and the northern suburb of Frisco and the modern two story brick homes. We were torn between wanting to be near the city center and living in the charming neighborhoods with front porches and big trees or having the convenience of a new modern home that would not require much upkeep or repair. With our prequalification letter in hand from our lender, we decided to go for the mid-century craftsman and made an offer on a small one story that would need significant work and an addition to meet our needs. After a few weeks of negotiation it became clear that the price was too high for us to be able to purchase and complete the needed work and the addition so we gave up on this area and turned our attention north to Frisco. We had met some friends that lived in Frisco and McKinney and decided that we should move up to Frisco. We looked at new builds and made an offer to a builder. We learned that the cost of a new built home was going to quickly getting out of our comfort zone once that options started to be added to the base price. The negotiations once again failed. As real estate professionals, we knew not to fall in love with a home so we were once again able to walk away and begin the search again.

By now we had decided that we were going to live in Frisco. We got on the MLS, created a list of 9 homes in Frisco that met our needs and off we went on a Saturday morning to tour the homes. The first home we saw we liked and decided that we would make an offer on it if we did not find anything better that day. The rest of the day was spent touring the other homes on the list. The last home on the list was back in the neighborhood where we had visited the first home. When we walked in we were amazed by the quality of the home. It was clear that the owner had taken great care of the home and had added a lot of custom features that would not have been done by the builder. As we toured the home we found that it was perfect for us. Nothing needed to be done. We left, went to a local wine bar and had some dinner and a glass of wine and decided that we would go back for one more look and then make an offer.

The second visit revealed even more custom features that we had missed on the first visit and convinced us that we should make a full price offer. We submitted the offer that evening and decided to go play a round of golf the following morning. On the 8th hole we got a call from the listing agent that our offer was accepted with some minor changes. After the round of golf we resubmitted the offer with the changes and went into Escrow. We got with our lender and told him that we had a 25 day close.

The closing occurred 25 days later, on the last day of the month, before a holiday weekend at 4:45PM. The process of making this happen is a story for another time. I will close this blog by saying there is nothing more important during a real estate transaction than the relationship between the Buyer, the Lender, the Title & Escrow, and the agents. No one should ever assume that someone else is doing something, sending something, signing something, or talking to someone. Assumptions kill deals.

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