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Old 04-21-2007, 07:23 PM
 
22 posts, read 61,727 times
Reputation: 12

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First, I must say I am happy to have stumbled on these forums. Appears to be quite an active and mature user base.

I am looking for some advice on areas to research given my situation. I currently live in the Matthews/Stallings area and I work in the heart of Charlotte. I have a lease for a house I am renting until the end of this year and I would like to move closer to uptown when this lease ends.

I am looking to purchase a location in the $120-150k price range. I am expecting a salary change within a month so that range may extend higher. As a result of waiting for the salary change I have not approached any lenders or agents yet until I know my true income and full budget. Within the next month or so I will go through all the processes to determine what I can really afford... but I am both anxious and I love to know everything I can in advance so that I know what areas I may be living in.

What I am looking for is someplace relatively safe with as short of a commute as possible to the center of Charlotte. I am not looking for a place as a long-term investment as I am young, single, and will likely move out within a couple of years. Any return on investment would be a mere bonus. I would LOVE to live within the uptown area and have a very small commute or possibly walk a bit and grab the Gold Rush. In my own personal research this seems to be damn near impossible for my price range, but I do not know for sure yet. The drive down 74/Independence is killing me right now in terms of lost time and stress that I would prefer to have a commute of less than 20-30 minutes tops in rush hour traffic.

Given the above... I am looking for suggestions of locations, projects, general areas.... anything that would point me to someplace affordable within a decent driving distance. I am open to condos, town homes, ranch homes... whatever. I am not very picky so long as the place does not look INSANELY terrible and it is in a relatively safe location. Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 04-21-2007, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
82 posts, read 296,827 times
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There are quite a few really good neighborhoods within 10 minutes of uptown where you can still buy for $150k or less.

I'd suggest Sheffield Park/Eastway Park, Echo Hills, and Oakhurst as a really good starting point -- they are neighborhoods of 1950s/1960s ranches that are becoming really popular.

There are also some neighborhoods on the periphery of Midwood where you can buy in that range, but make sure to choose carefully if you look over there (Markham Village, Shamrock Gardens, and a few others).

There are also 2 or 3 *really* good condo communities that would fit your needs, but these days there just isn't much on the market (condo-wise) that's close to town and under $200k or so. And what IS available sells really quickly.

If I were you, I'd start with the neighborhoods I mentioned: Oakhurst, Sheffield Park, Echo Hills. They're great areas, and you'd love the commute (or lack thereof). My investor clients are targeting these areas right now, and for good reason -- they're the last bastion of affordability close to town.

Feel free to PM me if you want more info. These are the areas I watch closely and I've got some good realtor friends who exclusively work those neighborhoods.
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Old 04-21-2007, 07:47 PM
 
22 posts, read 61,727 times
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Thanks for the advice. I will definitely look into those areas. I honestly have not heard any of those names before... part of my problem in researching areas is that I am originally from Winston so I do not know the surrounding Charlotte area well enough yet.
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Old 04-22-2007, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, home of the NY/NJ refugees
1,384 posts, read 1,430,260 times
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As a single female, I personally would not feel safe in the above named areas, but that's just me. I would recommend looking at townhomes in the university, Huntersville, and south Charlotte areas. I have been in that price range, and at that time I could not find anything safe near downtown for that. And I could not justify paying money for a small house built in the 50s when I could be 10 minutes further up the road and get a townhome that is twice as big built in that last 5 years for the same price. Again, just my opinion.
I would look Moderator cut: realtor ad link (NO I am NOT an agent, not in the biz at all-- just like their search features) and do a search with your price range on there.
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,269 posts, read 88,570,147 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmway View Post
As a single female, I personally would not feel safe in the above named areas, but that's just me. I would recommend looking at townhomes in the university, Huntersville, and south Charlotte areas. I have been in that price range, and at that time I could not find anything safe near downtown for that. And I could not justify paying money for a small house built in the 50s when I could be 10 minutes further up the road and get a townhome that is twice as big built in that last 5 years for the same price. Again, just my opinion.
I would look Moderator cut: realtor ad link (NO I am NOT an agent, not in the biz at all-- just like their search features) and do a search with your price range on there.
I so agree with you kmway, with the exception of Oakhurst, which I would consider living in depending on which end the house was on. Rest of your advice is dead on!
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Old 04-22-2007, 04:59 PM
 
22 posts, read 61,727 times
Reputation: 12
Thanks for the advice.

I'm a young male and I have been through and lived in all parts good and bad so it does take a lot to intimidate me. With that said... I am not looking to increase any risks for personal or property crime for the sake of finding a home versus townhome, etc, etc... I really just want A) a decently short drive to work and B) a relatively safe environment to stay in for a couple of years. If I can manage both of those things without hurting my ability to save money, I will be quite happy
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Old 04-22-2007, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
82 posts, read 296,827 times
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No offense intended to anyone here, but have you actually BEEN in these neighborhoods? I personally know people -- young professional women & men -- who live in each one of these areas.

These are old neighborhoods and have a mixture of people. Some elderly folks who have lived there for 40 years, all the way down to young professionals like Breezer95 who want affordability close to town.

Finally -- "new" isn't always better. These 1950s/1960s brick ranches are built a heck of a lot better than much of the cookie-cutter stuff being built today.

And I leave you with this -- what were areas like Chantilly & Sedgefield like 10 years ago? Heck, even the outskirts of Dilworth! Take a drive around and you might be surprised what's close to town and not "unsafe."

Okay, rant over.
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Old 04-22-2007, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,269 posts, read 88,570,147 times
Reputation: 39866
Quote:
Originally Posted by clt_gator View Post
No offense intended to anyone here, but have you actually BEEN in these neighborhoods? I personally know people -- young professional women & men -- who live in each one of these areas.

These are old neighborhoods and have a mixture of people. Some elderly folks who have lived there for 40 years, all the way down to young professionals like Breezer95 who want affordability close to town.

Finally -- "new" isn't always better. These 1950s/1960s brick ranches are built a heck of a lot better than much of the cookie-cutter stuff being built today.

And I leave you with this -- what were areas like Chantilly & Sedgefield like 10 years ago? Heck, even the outskirts of Dilworth! Take a drive around and you might be surprised what's close to town and not "unsafe."

Okay, rant over.
We've had this conversation before I believe, and I think we agreed to just disagree? OF COURSE I have been in each and every neighborhood you mentioned. It's great that you are selling homes in them - I am happy for you! I also think it's awesome that there is a bit of a trend toward upwardly mobile young professionals buying into some of these neigborhoods. BUT, they in no way make up the majority of folks in some of these "endangered" neigborhoods. Therefore some of us would not personally chose to live this close to other problem areas. Live there is you want, I can only say what I would or wouldn't do. Try not to take that personally

Oh, and I leave you with this...10 years ago Chantilly was a nice blue collar working neighborhood. It was not crime-ridden, just very blue collar - so please don't imply that it was downtrodden or crime-ridden - that is just not true. The homes may not have been rennovated or updated, but the yards were tidy and many in the neighborhood had raised kids there for 40 years or more. Now, unfortunately for folks in certain income brackets, it is getting harder and harder for anyone but a white collar professional to buy in there.

Last edited by lovesMountains; 04-22-2007 at 10:50 PM..
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Old 04-22-2007, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,269 posts, read 88,570,147 times
Reputation: 39866
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breezer95 View Post
Thanks for the advice.

I'm a young male and I have been through and lived in all parts good and bad so it does take a lot to intimidate me. With that said... I am not looking to increase any risks for personal or property crime for the sake of finding a home versus townhome, etc, etc... I really just want A) a decently short drive to work and B) a relatively safe environment to stay in for a couple of years. If I can manage both of those things without hurting my ability to save money, I will be quite happy
Breezer, since you are male, and you seem to have a high tolerance for riskier neighborhoods I am sure clt gator would be able to find you something you would consider a gem. But please, I seriously caution you against buying anything on or off of Eastway Dr. Especially in the area of Eastway and Central Ave. If you do, you may very well end up back here like another poster did telling us you wished you had listened. I promise not to say "I told you so" if that does happen Best of luck to you!
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Old 04-23-2007, 06:29 AM
 
22 posts, read 61,727 times
Reputation: 12
Everything I read here or any information given to me by even my closest of friends won't persuade me to simply run out and purchase in a location on impulse. My intent on posing this question on these forums was to gather information just like what you and clt_gator have provided. That is... given my criteria for a place to live I would like suggestions on locations to continue my own research.

I don't know how gullible some people may be when it comes to information. I mean no offense to anyone... but as I said not even my closest of friends could persuade me on advice alone to make an investment of this magnitude without me doing a lot of my own personal research and asking a million and one questions.

I do have a higher tolerance for riskier neighborhoods... but only if it makes sense as a whole. All of the tangibles and intangibles have to add up for me. My problem is that I don't know the areas around Charlotte well that even fit my price range given... much less do I know the ones that may be considered at all safe and within a shorter driving distance to uptown. Plus... my goal here is very short term. I may not even be against the concept of renting someplace if it is not highway robbery. The real reason why I want to own a place versus renting is because I hate pissing money away

Everything said thus far has been helpful so I really do appreciate hearing things from all sides. Thanks again


edit - I just realized one thing I would love to find is a map of Charlotte with an overlay of the estimated rush hour driving times as you expand away from the center of downtown... I may have to work on generating something like that based off of input I receive

Last edited by Breezer95; 04-23-2007 at 06:39 AM.. Reason: edit
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