Traffic Patterns and Local Real Estate

Texas, as the residents of the one-time Lone Star Republic will tell us, is a different world. Such was the discussion that arose yesterday at my parents’ house as we celebrated an early Thanksgiving with my sister, brother-in-law and nephews who live in the Houston area.

It seems that in Texas, those shoulders on the freeway aren’t shoulders as unmarked lanes – any local apparently knows that if you’re exiting the freeway and the right lane is clogged, just jump on the shoulder and go where you need to go.

Frontage roads aren’t really frontage roads but merely extensions of the freeway, albeit with speeds of only 70 or so MPH – about the same as the unposted yet unofficial speed limit of the Loop 101 through the Northwest Valley. (Legal disclaimer – the actual posted speed limit is 65 and I do not recommend nor condone driving at above that limit unless you’re in front of me and I need to get somewhere.)

“Y’all are too polite,” I was told, which came as quite a surprise given the fun and frivolity on the local freeways such as Saturday, when I was being tailgated in the left lane because I was only going 80 approximately the posted speed limit of 65.

If you want polite, try driving in the Twin Cities sometime. Never before have I seen multiple lanes of traffic traveling at exactly the speed limit with the near-perfect three second spacing recommended in defensive driving courses. Cars couldn’t be more perfectly aligned if they were hand placed.

In short, it’s the most frustrating place on earth. I mean, seriously … exactly 55 miles per hour? Really? Are the motors specially limited on cars there?

And somehow, in all of this, I haven’t mentioned driving in San Diego or Los Angeles.

So what is the point of all this?

While the act of driving is the same in all of these different places, the way it’s performed is decidedly different. Such is also the case with real estate. Buyers and sellers come together to consummate the sale, but the actual details of how the sale is going to take place differ greatly from one place to the next.

Folks from out of town rarely know the local rules, which makes forums like Trulia Voices useless when the advice comes from out of state. And, for that matter, there doesn’t seem to be much of a guarantee that locals will know what’s going on. Take this weekend, when an escrow company decided it was going to cancel a contract even though there’s no authority granted to the escrow company to do so.

But at least there’s a better chance when you’re getting local advice. Outside of making sure you use me as your agent, though, I can’t much give advice on how to make sure you find a competent agent here.

Photo credit: zoonabar via Flickr Creative Commons

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at