Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Houses in Texas

When Richard and I started house shopping in Texas, we started noticing a few features in houses that we did not love, but we had to deal with since they were so common. The only other place I have really house shopped before is Minnesota so these things might not be specific only to Texas, but they are different than what I have seen in Minnesota. It is funny how places can be so different, yet all be within the same country.

Communities. The houses around here are set up so that they are usually in these small neighborhoods where the houses are all close together and packed in. This means small yards and houses everywhere. We were not really huge fans of this, but since all of the neighborhoods seem to be like this there was no escaping it. This also means most neighborhoods had association fees as well.

Small Yards. Since all the houses are so close together, the yards were all super small. Most of the houses were sitting on lots smaller than a fourth of an acre, which is really small. Although, most of the houses had fenced in back yards which is a bonus since we have a dog.

Alleys. Depending on the neighborhood, the houses would have their driveways and garages in their back yard and have an alley behind their house to get to their garage. This way the front of the house did not have a garage as a main attraction. This means that while the curb appeal to your house is great, your driveway cuts into your backyard to make it even smaller. Plus, to me, having a large front yard and a small backyard is a waste of space since you typically use your back yard more with kids and pets.
Garage is located in the back of the house.
Brick. I would say about 90% of the houses down here have a brick exterior. Richard and I actually really loved this, but the house we picked is one of the few that does not have a brick exterior. I love the look of brick so it was fun to see all the brick houses around here.

Grand Entrances. This was another thing we really liked, most of the house around here had these brilliant two story entrances and extra tall ceilings. I love the look of this and most every house here has it so it was amazing to see.
Bonus Rooms. Houses around here also had some very similar designs, specifically in that almost all of them had a bonus room or a game room located at the top the the steps. This was a place where you could set up an additional living room or a pool table or something like that. Houses in Texas do not have basements so this is their alternative.

Master Suite. The master suite in most of these house was located on the first floor. Our realtor told us this was a big thing for resale since the older population usually can't climb stairs. For us, we did not really love this because when you have really young kids having them on a different level is not ideal. But, again we did not really have an option.

Real Estate Taxes. These are so crazy high around here and we had no idea when we started looking. When I asked my dad, who is a realtor in Minnesota, what to guess for taxes he gave me a number under $200 a month. In Texas, our taxes will be about four times that in a month for a house with equal value. So crazy.

Most of these differences are small things, but they were things we had to come to terms with when searching for a house. Had our budget been bigger, we may have been able to eliminate some of these items. But, we were able to find one that we loved as we mentioned before and should hopefully be closing on it soon and then we can give you the grand tour!

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