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Old 04-20-2011, 05:23 PM
 
1 posts, read 2,825 times
Reputation: 10

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I'm in the market to buy a house and am trying to decide whether I should focus on Baltimore or DC.

I grew up in the Lauraville and Rogers Forge neighborhoods of Baltimore/Baltimore County and my family still lives in the area. I moved to the DC area for college and have stayed. Now that I'm ready to buy a house, I'm trying to decide which area to choose. I'm hoping to spend under $225,000.

My impression is that DC is probably a lot safer and definitely has a lot more to do. However, it is also significantly more expensive to purchase homes. In Baltimore, it seems I can find an affordable and nice place, but I'm not sure if it's worth the crime and giving up all DC has to offer. I'm also concerned about losing money in the long run if I buy in Baltimore.

Any advice would be much appreciated, including suggestions of Baltimore neighborhoods that are fairly safe but affordable and also whether you think buying in Baltimore is a bad long-term investment.

Thanks!
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:33 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 10,727,693 times
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Well, I can tell you right now, that money will get you a great house here and barely anything in DC. And a lot of people are thinking this way, too: I was at a homeownership counseling session last weekend and half the room were DC people.
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:26 PM
 
705 posts, read 1,109,588 times
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I live in DC now, but considering the same (from Baltimore). Be sure to factor in your time (if your taking the MARC train), cost (transportation costs) and property taxes in Baltimore City (very high and almost a deterrent).

Also, if you are thinking of having kids-Baltimore City is no place to raise them. If you are younger, Baltimore City could be for you though-and there is definitely lots to do as well.
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:41 PM
 
251 posts, read 606,843 times
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For that money you can certainly get a nice place that will put you a decent distance from most unsavory aspects of Baltimore. If you grew up in Baltimore's suburbs and then lived in DC you should have a good feel for the time of crime in the city and how to avoid it. As a long term investment you certainly won't be losing money in Baltimore as long as you buy in a place that isn't losing population (easier to do now than it has been in years).

Your main issue is what you will be doing while you are here. If you plan to work outside of Baltimore your commute could be killer. You should be fine with your options for entertainment and dining options. The dating scene is different in Baltimore, so if your taste are specific to a specific culture of young professional in DC you might have trouble finding the same types of people. And of course raising school aged children can be an interesting challenge.

You don't give much information about what you are looking for, but I'm making the assumption that your biggest issue will be the taxes..
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:44 PM
 
Location: Baltimore
158 posts, read 326,901 times
Reputation: 56
I'm buying a place in Baltimore and am moving from DC. I work in North Bethesda but am able to work from home a couple days a week and can schedule my hours so I'm not commuting during the prime hours. In DC proper you can only get a very small studio, if that, for $225K. Unless you want to live in a very unsavory part of the city or parts of PG county.

DC is great but it really seriously lacks any affordable housing (like a lot of "great" cities).

Other people have brought up important aspects - - taxes (though they can be manageable if your house is only assessed around $225K) and schools.

The other big question is - - do you LIKE Baltimore?? Like really like it? There's a big difference living in Baltimore vs. DC, in my opinion.
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:01 PM
 
705 posts, read 1,109,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sl0622 View Post
I'm buying a place in Baltimore and am moving from DC. I work in North Bethesda but am able to work from home a couple days a week and can schedule my hours so I'm not commuting during the prime hours. In DC proper you can only get a very small studio, if that, for $225K. Unless you want to live in a very unsavory part of the city or parts of PG county.

DC is great but it really seriously lacks any affordable housing (like a lot of "great" cities).

Other people have brought up important aspects - - taxes (though they can be manageable if your house is only assessed around $225K) and schools.

The other big question is - - do you LIKE Baltimore?? Like really like it? There's a big difference living in Baltimore vs. DC, in my opinion.
I grew up in Baltimore and love the town like no other. It will always be home to me.

Having said that, the biggest difference is educational level and safety. Even the worst parts of NOVA may be some of the up and coming areas in Baltimore.

If you buy in the better parts of Baltimore, you will be fine. I would not gamble on the next big neighborhood right now.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:39 AM
 
1,137 posts, read 1,882,743 times
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Rodger's Forge is very stable and popular and in one of the best school districts in Baltimore County. You won't lose money in buying a house in Rodger's Force at today's prices and assuming you hold on to it for the long run.

Lauraville is a mixed bag. It's up and coming but it is still on the margins. It can go either way.

Since you are commuting from DC have you considered Federal Hill or Locust Point on the south side of the harbor?
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:37 AM
 
705 posts, read 1,109,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallybalt View Post
Rodger's Forge is very stable and popular and in one of the best school districts in Baltimore County. You won't lose money in buying a house in Rodger's Force at today's prices and assuming you hold on to it for the long run.

Lauraville is a mixed bag. It's up and coming but it is still on the margins. It can go either way.

Since you are commuting from DC have you considered Federal Hill or Locust Point on the south side of the harbor?
I agree about Rodgers Forge and Stonleigh-but that is a long trek to DC.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Baltimore
1,759 posts, read 4,261,704 times
Reputation: 1192
Prices in Baltimore have seemingly hit their bottom. In the more developed areas like federal hill and canton, prices are finally starting to creep back up as investors are buying foreclosures and vacants to invest. Baltimore prices are still a far cry from their peak but you can buy a very nice rowhouse in pretty much any part of the city in your price range whereas at their peak they hit the 300+ mark. 225 will get you a very nicely done 2/1/1 or 3/1/1 depending on where you look and can probably find it with parking which is worth its weight in gold down here.

The other bonus is even if you move but want to keep the home, the rental market is very strong here. My last rental was priced very competitively in the market back in January and it went for 2x the mortgage and closed under a week.
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Old 04-21-2011, 11:07 AM
 
775 posts, read 1,498,732 times
Reputation: 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
Well, I can tell you right now, that money will get you a great house here and barely anything in DC. And a lot of people are thinking this way, too: I was at a homeownership counseling session last weekend and half the room were DC people.
Exactly right. You will not find a house in DC for that.
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