Finding accommodation in Dallas will be one of the most enduring challenges facing those moving to the city. Whether one is looking to rent or buy, housing in Dallas is in short supply.
That said, the quality of apartments and houses in Dallas is high, and property prices reflect this. In fact, Dallas is home to some of the most luxurious and expensive properties in the world. In terms of more affordable living options in Dallas, choices are limited.
Due to the shortage of property, especially in popular neighbourhoods, it's advisable to start the search as soon as possible. Luckily, there are plenty of estate agents available in Dallas to advise newcomers on the city's property market.
Areas and suburbs in Dallas
When moving to Dallas, choosing a neighbourhood that aligns with one's lifestyle is essential. The Uptown and Downtown areas are bustling with activity, offering a variety of dining, entertainment and shopping options. For those seeking a more suburban feel, areas such as Highland Park and Preston Hollow provide quieter environments with larger plots of land and green spaces.
Lakewood and the M Streets are trendy spots, combining the old-world charm of Dallas and modern amenities. Meanwhile, the Bishop Arts District showcases a Bohemian vibe, brimming with independent shops and artisanal eateries.
For families, areas like Plano and Richardson, slightly north of the main city, have excellent schools and more expansive properties, making them attractive options.
See Areas and Suburbs in Dallas for more on the best neighbourhoods in the city.
Types of accommodation in Dallas
The type of housing available varies, ranging from modern apartments and urban loft spaces in the downtown area to luxury condos and huge family homes further out in the suburbs.
As property is a big business in Dallas, the standard is generally exceptional, and properties are always well maintained. This high standard of accommodation comes with a hefty price tag though. Standard property prices should be carefully researched ahead of moving to Dallas.
Finding accommodation in Dallas
Demand for accommodation in Dallas exceeds supply, so finding somewhere to stay isn't always easy. New arrivals will benefit from the services of a real estate agent who will be familiar with the local property market. There are plenty of agents working in the city, and it's worth speaking to other newcomers to get recommendations too.
The internet is another good place to begin a search for a property. Online portals can be used to get an idea of the property prices in particular neighbourhoods. It's important to note that property in sought-after areas is snapped up quickly in Dallas, often even before agents can advertise online. It's wise to get a head start by ensuring the agent knows one's ideal areas, budget and preferred housing type.
- Zillow: A popular site for property listings in Dallas
- Realtor: Search for both buying and renting options in Dallas
- Apartments.com: Specifically tailored for those seeking apartment rentals
- Trulia: Another useful portal for property searches in Dallas
Renting accommodation in Dallas
Most people who move to Dallas will opt to rent rather than buy property, at least initially. This allows greater flexibility and gives new arrivals time to get to know the city's various neighbourhoods before making a long-term commitment.
Making an application
Once a property is chosen, prospective tenants must make an application. This usually involves filling out a form detailing personal information, employment history and references. Most landlords or agencies will also conduct a credit check.
It's recommended to gather previous landlord references, pay stubs and possibly even a letter of employment. This preparation can speed up the approval process and make one stand out in a competitive market.
Additionally, some properties may require a background check. If a resident has a pet, they should check the property's pet policy and be prepared to pay an additional deposit or monthly fee.
Leases, costs and fees
As the availability of property is limited, landlords will typically look for tenants who can commit to a lease for at least one year. It's essential to read a lease carefully before signing to become familiar with any limitations it might specify and to check whether there are additional costs on top of rent.
Generally, tenants are expected to put down a deposit of at least one month's rent. If the property is returned in good condition, tenants should receive the deposit back in full.
Besides the deposit, renters should be aware of possible application fees, administrative fees and sometimes even pet fees. While some costs are one-time fees, others like pet rent might be added to the monthly rent. It's always wise to clarify all costs upfront to avoid unexpected expenses.
See Accommodation in the USA for more on rental processes in the country.
Utilities in Dallas
Utilities are typically not included in the cost of renting a property, so these costs need to be considered on top of the rental price.
Setting up utilities is a priority once accommodation is secured. While some rental agreements might include certain utilities, others will require tenants to set up their own accounts and manage payments directly.
Many utility companies in Dallas offer online account management, which makes it easier to track usage and payments. It's worth shopping around and checking reviews to ensure one gets reliable service and competitive rates.
Electricity and gas
There are numerous energy providers in Dallas due to Texas's deregulated energy market. This means residents can choose a provider that best suits their needs and budget. It's advised to compare rates and contract lengths. Some popular providers include TXU Energy, Reliant and Direct Energy.
For gas, Atmos Energy is the primary provider in the Dallas area. They offer both residential and commercial services.
Water and sewerage services are typically handled by the City of Dallas. Upon moving, residents need to set up an account with the city's water utility service. Bills are usually sent monthly, and payments can be made online, by mail or in person. It's also wise to be aware of water conservation guidelines, especially during the drier months when restrictions might be in place.
Waste management and recycling
The City of Dallas provides waste collection and recycling services. Households are usually supplied with bins for regular waste, recyclables and yard waste. Collection schedules vary depending on the neighbourhood.
Residents should be familiar with recycling guidelines, ensuring items like paper, plastic and glass are sorted correctly to promote efficient recycling processes.
High-speed internet is crucial for many, and Dallas offers a variety of providers. Depending on the area, options might include AT&T, Spectrum and Frontier. It's beneficial to check the availability in one's specific location and compare packages to get the best deal.
Buying property in Dallas
Most new arrivals in Dallas only intend to stay for a short period and therefore don’t look into buying property.
Those who do intend to settle down in Dallas should note that there is a severe shortage of properties available. This means that Dallas has become a seller’s market and is often considered an excellent place to invest in real estate. Those who eventually move out of Dallas can sell their property at a high price, and because there are so many buyers looking for property in the area, chances are sellers will get their asking price.
Bearing this in mind, those looking to buy would do well to enlist the services of an estate agent to help them find a suitable and affordable property to purchase.
What is the standard of housing like in Dallas?
"Dallas has a lot of apartment buildings and townhouses. I would say most of the people here live in mid-rise apartments, but there are also some high-rise buildings more downtown and some really big mansions in the Highland Park area. Overall, the prices are really high if you really want to be IN the city and not in a suburb like Addison or Plano." Read more in our interview with Conny, a Dutch expat living in Dallas.
► Getting Around in Dallas provides detailed information on the various modes of transport available to those living in Dallas.
Are you an expat living in Dallas?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Dallas. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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