Hi Nicole -
I moved to Plano, north of Dallas, 15 years ago from Boston. I was tired of the cold, grey skies, cost of living and just the everyday grind.
We absolutely love it here but there are a couple things that are Cons you should consider. Also, I'd suggest you look at Austin area as it has the best of TX and it eliminates a lot of the con's of the Dallas area (flatness and distance to ocean)
First, where I live is 25 miles north of Dallas and it takes ~45 min on average to get to downtown during rush hour (barring accidents). I don't know the areas to the South/East of Dallas so can't really provide much specific guidance. Rowlett/Garland are nice and pretty cheap. Mesquite is definitely cheap but you have to be more careful about what area you settle in. Definitely take a look at www.crimereports.com as TX police report all activity so it's very transparent to find out about an area
1. Sunshine! It is so sunny that after being here for a few years you end up looking forward to a cloudy/rainy day
2. Ease of living - in Boston there were a few choices for everything - contractors to restaurants. In Dallas there are hundreds of choices. Getting things done same day is easy
3. Grid streets + no ocean - when there is traffic you still have a dozen different options for getting where you need to be
4. Costs - no income tax and overall everything is much cheaper. Sales tax is 8.25%
5. Rent - so many apartment complexes and houses to rent.
6. Friendly - people are so much friendlier than in Boston
1. Heat - July to September is hot, typically low 90's. The other major difference is in the summer the temp frequently never drops below 80, even at night
2. FLAT! - This bothers me more than distance to the ocean. I grew up in the Adirondacks and went skiing in VT/NH/ME. Here, a 10 ft elevation is the best you're going to get unless you're down near Austin
3. Have to drive everywhere. Outside of Austin & San Antonio, there are no walkable parts of TX cities. Dallas is not a walkable city. A small part of Ft Worth is walkable. Biking is frowned upon in practice - they simply say that a 3 lane (each way) road is now Bike Path 80...but there's nothing separating you from the cars doing 50+
4. Distance - From Dallas it's 5 hrs to anyplace (other than Ft Worth). Not sure about Tacoma area but in Boston you could be in a dozen different cities within 5 hrs
5. Cost of living! Once you live here and experience the lower cost of living it's very, very hard to justify moving anywhere else in the country!
Obviously some of these Cons aren't going to be as big a deal for everyone, but it's what we've experienced over the past 15 yrs. Hopefully we never have to relocate as we love it here. I do wish we lived in the Austin area as it has hills, Barton Springs (60 degree water year round), the city is walkable and it's that much closer to the ocean.