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Old 10-18-2010, 05:48 PM
 
Location: The land of sugar... previously Houston and Austin
5,345 posts, read 9,098,131 times
Reputation: 3411

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Quote:
Originally Posted by am350z View Post
What is everyones opinion on spending this kind of money in the burbs like sugar land. Maybe okay in Sweetwater area?

Pearland definitely is the most central. The upscale communities there though I haven't heard good things about. Bad smell from dump and bad traffic on 288.
I'd have no problem with spending $500k in Sugar Land if it were in the Avalon or Sweetwater areas. I wouldn't go much higher than that though, unless you are really tied to Sugar Land and can afford to.

I don't blame you on Pearland, I wouldn't want to spend that kind of money there either... just my opinion. Seems a lot less established, less physically attractive and haphazard development, less upscale, etc. No offense to anyone there... it may eventually get there, I just don't think it's there yet.

I like West U, great area. The Med Center is growing like crazy, it's expected to eventually be larger than downtown Dallas, and that industry seems pretty undeterred by downturns. Having the Museum District nearby and so much else available around there is even better. I'd feel comfortable investing big money there.

I think you're going to just have to choose some homes to look at in these places, do a lot of looking around and getting a feel for the areas.
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Old 10-18-2010, 06:00 PM
 
10 posts, read 16,246 times
Reputation: 18
Sorry if you disagree. We looked at a house on Huisache street and both wife and father-in-law thought some of the neighboring houses were not just old but sketchy. Maybe just a bad first impression.

One concern about west u and bellaire if home prices will be affected by universal healthcare. Lots of docs in those areas who might not be able to afford their mortgage once their salaries get whacked! But might not matter too much since it is such a desirable area.
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:18 PM
 
Location: West Houston
1,075 posts, read 1,634,648 times
Reputation: 1360
If I may venture a suggestion:

(First, a disclaimer, I live near Briar Forest/Kirkwood/Memorial, so I'm in that "West Memorial" area).

I would first decide if we (as a couple) could handle a major reno project. That's more stressful than you think. It's tough on the very finest marriages and the very largest bank accounts (ask anybody who has done it).

That said, there's something to be said for an older, more graceful neighborhood.

Whichever way you go, honestly, as an older person to a younger one, DO NOT STRAIN THE BUDGET. You're most likely going to want to buy, hold 5 years or so, and sell/move up as your career advances/family size potentially increases. You don't have to take it ALL in one chunk.

This matters because if you choose an older property for reno, you're going to have to buy at lower price and factor your reno costs into your overall outlay. What you DO NOT want to do is overimprove the neighborhood, then get some great promotion or job offer in another city (and if you're good, you'll get 'em) and have to eat some of that outlay. Keep your improvements within the economic boundaries of the neighborhood. For example, here in my neighborhood, if I were to spend $100,000 on renovations, I'd NEVER get that much out. The neighborhood is a $200,000 neighborhood, period. Some fool might spend $250,000---but then I've lost $50k, haven't I?

Now, with that out of the way, what can you buy for $450k, spend $100k on the renovation, and have a beautiful, SALEABLE home?

One thing to keep in mind: the further out you go, the less potential increase you'll see unless something unusual like the BP HQ thing goes in directly in your area, or you hold for the long term (20 years or more).

Me, I think I made a good deal buying here. This neighborhood SHOULD appreciate in value, being as it is close to the geographic center of Houston. I wish I could have bought in a better neighborhood, but then, doesn't everyone?

Especially if you're a young couple, buy every piece of real estate you ever buy with resale in mind. You don't need to worry about "stability" until you're 50-ish.

Also, as my Mom used to say, "I always want to own the cheapest, poorest house in the most expensive neighborhood possible." Put another way: location, location, location.

Finally, in this hodge-podge of advice I'm giving you, Houston is a moving target. It's VERY hard to predict. You make the best judgement you can at the time, then keep an eagle-eye on the market for any potential changes. Be prepared to act at any time!

When I was a young man living here (in 1979) the "hot" places were Champions, Sharpstown, Quail Valley. (River Oaks, West U, Tall Timbers et al have been hot forever and will remain so, though it makes me weep to think I could have bought a house in West U for $40,000 that now would be $400,000 for the lot...). These days, Champions is surrounded by--um, bad stuff, Sharpstown and Quail Valley have -really- changed.

You have to keep constant watch, no matter what you buy.

My best advice: buy the cheapest, most tragic, smallest house in the finest neighborhood you can afford. Take what you think you can afford, reduce it by 20%, and that's your target (you do NOT want to be house-poor; if you can afford $500,000, buy something for $400,000 and bank the rest for upgrades/reno). Always hedge your bets---why put it ALL into one investment? You wouldn't do that with stock!

Hope this helps, and good luck!

Oh, and do come back and tell us what you decided! It's always interesting to find out what people actually did.
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:10 PM
 
10 posts, read 16,246 times
Reputation: 18
Thanks for the great advice. I will keep it all in mind. We will likely stay in the area for the foreseeable future. My field doesn't tend to have a lot of vertical advancement. Pretty much I am at the top and if I did go elsewhere it would cost me quite a bit of dough and time to "climb the ladder" again. But you never know I guess.

Another area that would be central would be Royal Oaks CC. Seems to be nice houses in gated area. But alief schools! Or Lakes of Parkway?

Last edited by am350z; 10-18-2010 at 08:32 PM..
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:19 AM
 
1,154 posts, read 1,717,012 times
Reputation: 1262
I would look into inner loop nabes like Southgate and Windermere. I love the proximity to Rice, Rice Village, Med Center, light rail, as well as easy access to 59. Personally I find Bellaire to be vulgar and ugly in most places. JMO. Here's one example I found in Windermere:
2315 McClendon St, Houston, TX 77030 - HAR.com
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:36 AM
 
19 posts, read 16,472 times
Reputation: 12
Top burbs to live in
1 Sugar lannd
2.katy
3.the woodlands/the woodlands is to far out.30 miles away from downtown but a very nice area. But sugarland gets my vote the people are so nice the houses are nice and you are not to far from the city.katy is also 20 miles from downtown and the traffic can be bad even with the the new 10 lane high way on each side.But sugarland is the place to be every time im in the houston area i always have to stop by sugarland just to feel the great vibe.
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Old 10-20-2010, 01:28 PM
 
807 posts, read 1,262,506 times
Reputation: 483
Quote:
Originally Posted by am350z View Post
Thanks to anyone who offers their opinion. I know it is a personal choice but would love to here opinions on where to live. We are currently renting in Sugar Land (Telfair) but will be buying in the next 6 months. Our dilemma is I work in Clear lake, Medical Center, and Katy. Sugar Land has been not bad for a commute and we like the city. However, Memorial and West U would be easier commutes. The problem is I like the ability of inner loop to maintain value but my wife doesn't like the congested feel or the smaller/more basic homes. I am hesitant to spend big bucks in Sugar Land. Both areas have great public schools. Considering private but that would also be a commute for my wife back into town (unless we went with Fort Bend Baptist).

Budget would be 500k-800k. Maybe a little more but prefer not.

Thoughts? Much appreciated.
are you looking for brand new construction or perhaps something older with some upgrades? Let me know. I may be putting my home on the market soon. It's on Bellaire - steps from Horn Elementary. Great neighborhood and close to 610 so you can drive to your work destinations in minutes.
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:31 PM
 
Location: West Houston
1,075 posts, read 1,634,648 times
Reputation: 1360
Quote:
Originally Posted by am350z View Post
Thanks for the great advice. I will keep it all in mind. We will likely stay in the area for the foreseeable future. My field doesn't tend to have a lot of vertical advancement. Pretty much I am at the top and if I did go elsewhere it would cost me quite a bit of dough and time to "climb the ladder" again. But you never know I guess.

Another area that would be central would be Royal Oaks CC. Seems to be nice houses in gated area. But alief schools! Or Lakes of Parkway?
My neighborhood is down the street, as it were, from Royal Oaks.

While all our Briar Forest neighborhoods--Briargrove Park, Walnut Bend, Riverview, April Village, Village West, Ashford Village, Ashford Forest, Country Village, others---are very nice, the surrounding area (including the area around Royal Oaks) is less than spiffy (having to do with crappy apartment complexes). I don't think Royal Oaks is going to suffer any for the near term (30 years down the road, who knows?). As for the schools, most people in Royal Oaks send their kids to private schools; I'll bet there are a mere handful of kids in Royal Oaks in Alief schools. (Our Briar Forest area, btw, is in HISD, not Alief).
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:51 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
4,666 posts, read 8,734,307 times
Reputation: 3020
I am fond of Sugar Land and just so you know, my husband commutes from Sugar Land to Clear Lake and while it isn't wonderful, it isn't so awful, either, because the Beltway has traffic that moves.
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