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Old 05-17-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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Thanks so much for all the input re housing in WS. I loved reading about all the different opinions everyone has. We went back to WS this past weekend, and tried to drive around some of the neighborhoods in order to get a better feeling for the general area. He really likes the Washington Park area, as it is close to the school, has a really nice organic grocery store nearby, as well as a wonderful park. Unfortunately, there isn't much in terms of rental apts in that area. He also likes the West End, and Ardmore and Miller Park area are all on the list as well.

We are thinking of investing in a small house or condo, instead of throwing money away on rent. One problem with that is that once bought, he is stuck there for the duration, and if he doesn't like it, oh well......I liked the idea of a shorter term lease until he becomes more familiar with the area and can make a more informed decision.

We saw a lot of really interesting older homes, really inexpensive, but they needed a lot of work, and they were in some pretty iffy areas. We realize that you can indeed have a very nice expensive house just a block or two away from a really bad area. We also learned that there are A LOT of homes for sale!!! At all price levels. Since this is just a temporary home for him while in school, we want to get something relatively inexpensive, and something that we can resell fairly easily. So....seeing how many homes are on the market, would you say that WS has a pretty slow housing market at this time? Worried that if we buy something we might not be able to sell it that easily in 3 years.

Two more questions: What do you think about the Ebert Road area, and the general area south of I40 off of Peters Creek Parkway? Lots of nice apt complexes in that area.... but doesn't seem as walking friendly as the areas closer to downtown. The Stratford Road and Hawthorne Road area seemed to have a nice shopping area with a Whole foods, Harris Teeter, etc. Anyone know anything about the Milller Park Circle Apartments?

Thanks again! Appreciate everyone's comments
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mflorence View Post

We are thinking of investing in a small house or condo, instead of throwing money away on rent. One problem with that is that once bought, he is stuck there for the duration, and if he doesn't like it, oh well......I liked the idea of a shorter term lease until he becomes more familiar with the area and can make a more informed decision.

We saw a lot of really interesting older homes, really inexpensive, but they needed a lot of work, and they were in some pretty iffy areas. We realize that you can indeed have a very nice expensive house just a block or two away from a really bad area. We also learned that there are A LOT of homes for sale!!! At all price levels. Since this is just a temporary home for him while in school, we want to get something relatively inexpensive, and something that we can resell fairly easily. So....seeing how many homes are on the market, would you say that WS has a pretty slow housing market at this time? Worried that if we buy something we might not be able to sell it that easily in 3 years.
I bought my house in 2005 and I remember looking at a few condos and townhomes and even then they had been on the market a long time. I was able to sell my detached home in 2009 but I technically made no money. I have one friend who listed hers at the same time as me but still has not sold hers. I have two friends with townhomes who listed a few months after I did and still have not sold. My other friends with detached homes took a little over a year to sell. If you are only going to be there 3 years I don't think it's worth it - esp. when you factor in closing costs when you buy and sell plus any maintenance issues that might come up. But to me I don't see a problem with renting esp. if it's short term such as this, a mortgage is mostly interest the first years anyway...

Last edited by ncsualum2004; 05-17-2011 at 10:07 PM.. Reason: .
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ncsualum2004 View Post
I bought my house in 2005 and I remember looking at a few condos and townhomes and even then they had been on the market a long time. I was able to sell my detached home in 2009 but I technically made no money. I have one friend who listed hers at the same time as me but still has not sold hers. I have two friends with townhomes who listed a few months after I did and still have not sold. My other friends with detached homes took a little over a year to sell. If you are only going to be there 3 years I don't think it's worth it - esp. when you factor in closing costs when you buy and sell plus any maintenance issues that might come up. But to me I don't see a problem with renting esp. if it's short term such as this, a mortgage is mostly interest the first years anyway...

Thank you so much for letting me know this. I was a bit worried about the ability to resell. We were hoping to use the interest payment as a tax deduction, but not so sure we want to have to worry about renting the place out if it didn't sell. I know that the market had really plunged between 2005-2010, but was hoping that the tide might be turning, and this would be a good time to buy low, and sell higher?

This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. If anyone else has a different experience I would love to hear it.
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:13 PM
 
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I would be a bit wary to buy, especially as a fairly short term investment. We bought in 2006 and have lost thousands of dollars in 5 years. The market still feels very slow. In a healthy W-S market, it would still take about 4 years to recoup closing costs and then realtor fees when you sell. I believe normal appreciation was about 4% a year before the market went stale. My family member invested here a few years ago and the rental is in a very desirable area, fairly priced and in perfect (almost brand new) condition and it took almost 6 months to rent this year! The tenant moved out in October, so I am sure the timing wasn't ideal to rent, but with the current rent rates, they are just breaking even every month on it when it is rented. I would highly recommend renting and not buying. I am finding it to be a headache! Also, in a previous post you had asked about Peter's Creek/Ebert area to rent. It is a fine area, but certainly not in a happening part of town. As a college student, I would rather live closer to downtown where I could walk. It is not a very walkable area around Peter's Creek.
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Old 05-22-2011, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Tarheel State
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I wouldn't buy at all.

Look for rental ads for Heather Hills condos. They are on Ebert. Ivy Glen and Heather South also. Ebert is a safe area but very busy with traffic esp during 'rush' hrs. It's not anything impossible to handle, obviously, but for WS, it's crowded for a 2 lane road.
Any of the apt complexes you mentioned would be just fine, too.

Gosh, it's been so long since I've known of or heard of anyone living in the Miller Circle apts but the location would be alright. The Ardmore/West End area is good as mentioned before. Good luck with your search.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:13 AM
 
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We looked at some more homes this past week. Found one we really liked, way cool for a college guy. He liked it a lot, and it gave him the opportunity to find a roommate, as the upstairs was designed as a separate living space. BUT, and here is the big but, the home has been on the market for ONE YEAR. Not very encouraging. My realtor mentioned that a house could be on the market, taken back down, and then placed back on the market with a different realty company, and that wouldn't show up on the listing. Definitely seems like house sales are still very slow. That is too bad, and I think that we have to change our focus from buying to renting. Now to find an honest and reputable realty company that deals with rentals. Spoke with folks from T.E. Johnson and Sons about a place. They were rude and condescending. Does anyone have any info they can offer on that firm? We really liked one of the apt complexes they rent out. Do they have a good reputation as landlords? Do they respond to repair calls? My son really likes the place they have available, but their attitude towards us was a little "off".
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mflorence View Post
. Now to find an honest and reputable realty company that deals with rentals. Spoke with folks from T.E. Johnson and Sons about a place. They were rude and condescending. Does anyone have any info they can offer on that firm? We really liked one of the apt complexes they rent out. Do they have a good reputation as landlords? Do they respond to repair calls? My son really likes the place they have available, but their attitude towards us was a little "off".
Interesting....I had asked about a rental company in another post for my family member who owns that investment property and a poster sent me private message telling me to stay cleer of T.E. Johnson and Sons. My family member uses Baldwin, but have been a bit unhappy with their communication from an owner's perspective. Good luck! Moving is a lot of work, but I think you are wise to change your direction to renting instead of buying.
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:41 PM
LLN
 
Location: Upstairs closet
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My daughter goes to UNCSA, a rising junior. She looked briefly at living off campus this coming year and was not happy with any apartments that she found. Not real bad, but she just could not find the right mix of cost, location, safety, and preferences. But I am sure she is picky! And I was an ogre about safety!

She was then going to rent a house, which seems to be what older students do (Yes, you have to know people and I realize just starting out, you do not). She felt renting a house, with several friends was going to work out much better, but in the end, she got in the on campus apts and is happy that worked out.

I don't think first year students have much of a chance of getting in, but the school has two blocks of "apartments" on campus, just so you know.

Good Luck,

LLN
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:02 AM
 
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LLN:
Thanks for your message. Appreciate your response as a UNCSA parent.
I think my son is going to sign a lease this week on some apts very near the school (Salem View Apts). Do you know anything about them? They are within walking distance, appear nice enough from the outside (though nothing special) and right near the Washington Park area. Don't love the rental company, a little hard to deal with, but the apts have LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. If you know anything negative about then, please advise.

Next year once he knows some folks, he can get a house, which is really what he would rather do.


Thanks
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:32 AM
 
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Salem View Apts. were built in 1968 on the site of a grand old home. It's houses an eclectic mix of residents, some long term some transient. There is the occasional drug dealer operating there discreetly, but it's not a hotspot for trouble by any means. I've had many friends live there over the years. (I'm a UNCSA grad.)

It's at the edge of a beautiful neighborhood with an active neighborhood association and a great park. Salem View is on the city bus line, has its own laundry facility and the buildings and grounds are particularly well-maintained, It is within a few yards of the UNCSA campus. School classrooms and offices are right across the street in two directions. The area is patrolled not only by city police but campus police as well. It's generally quaint, quiet, walkable and bike friendly.

There are many fine apartments nearby owned by independent landlords (yes, including UNCSA parents) but you usually have to wait until early August to find one available. Salem View will be fine for a year and T.E. Johnson, (an old "slumlord" operation to be honest) will be tolerable as long as the rent is on time. They tend to be on their best behavior in the Washington Park Historic District.

Winston-Salem has an impressive art scene and hip downtown nightlife. Old Salem, a restored 18th century town is just down the hill and a must-see! We are two hours from the mountains and four from the beach. UNCSA is one of the finest and most respected schools of its type in the world. I'd say you've chosen wisely and your son is a very fortunate lad indeed.
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