Will it Take a Village?







The photos show what we saw on our most recent trip. We left Dallas early Wednesday morning, bound for Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. Some generous friends had offered to host us as we explored the area and looked at houses that might be of interest.   An hour into the trip, after escaping the crush of Dallas commuter traffic, we stopped at a chain breakfast restaurant for a quick meal before heading out in earnest.  From departure to arrival in Hot Springs, the drive lasted just over five hours.

Our friends had appointments until mid-afternoon, so we had lunch at a ramshackle old BBQ joint, our kind of place!  Decent food, but not up to my BBQ standards; however, my wife’s ham sandwich was a winner.  After lunch, we headed northeast from Hot Springs to Hot Springs Village, a planned, gated community of 29,000 acres that developed beginning in the 1970s.  The staffed gate had been alerted that we would be coming, so we were given a dashboard pass and allowed to enter.  Upon arrival at hour friends’ house, we found several notes, ample informational materials about Hot Springs Village, and a very friendly little dog named Cooper.

We left our luggage at the house and wandered around Hot Springs Village (HSV).

HSV is very hilly, almost mountainous in some areas.  Situated in a dense forested area, it grew in a way that retains a sense of isolation.  Very rarely is it possible to see anything but forest as you drive down the main thoroughfares; buildings sit behind heavily wooded buffers.  Commercial areas are few; there are only a few small commercial pockets scattered throughout the development.  The property owners association (POA) maintains strict control over what can and cannot be built in HSV; that is both a comfort and a concern to me as I consider whether I’d want to live there.

Several lakes hide behind the forests in HSV.  They range in size from small, almost pond-like, to lakes large enough for boating and water sports.  Waterfront and water view homes are considerably more expensive than their nearby neighbors, as are golf course homes (there are several golf courses scattered throughout the development). But even those are considerably less expensive than what I’m used to seeing in Dallas; we saw a couple of golf-course homes in the $180,000 range or less, and there were waterfront properties for $200,000 and up.  Older homes and condos/townhomes start as low as $70,000.  The majority of 1700+ square foot 3 bedroom, 2 bath homes were in the range of $150,000-$200,000 on the west end of HSV, higher to the east in the newer parts of the development.  One of the houses we rather liked (surprisingly) was on  a golf course; the downside was the overabundance of carpet and peach-colored sinks and counter-tops and such.  Another place was appealing in part because of its stone-work and in part due to its remarkably low short-sale price ($99,000); we figure a lot could be done to make the place very, very nice for an additional $50-$60K in renovations.

As it stands, we’re mulling it over.  And we will continue to mull for a while, at least until our house is on the market early next year.  In the meantime, we may make a few trips to see what we can see.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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1 Response to Will it Take a Village?

  1. Trish says:

    First thought in my mine when you had mentioned HSV, was that corned beef you’d written of! Can’t shake it. 🙂 Forgot to mention, I cannot get corned beef here…not yet, anyway.

    Based on the photos you’ve provided here, its really very quite beautiful. Woodsy!

    I looked at the photo’s of “house we rather liked”, as well as “another place”. I really liked the one on the golf course, but then again this might have won out “another place”, for it had the distraction of the owners furniture, and taste, where the other one was bare.

    Boy, when I read those prices, my sister owns a home up in San Jose, CA….same square feet, bedrooms, and bathrooms….a mere $650,000 for the same. But then we know housing prices in the Bay Area have always been off the map, and all to go with it.

    Last note…you often mention the traffic out of Dallas, John. Had no idea it was so congested. One very good reason to skedaddle??

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