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Old 10-02-2011, 12:03 PM
 
7 posts, read 19,607 times
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So my fiancee and I have been out here from the east coast about a year and a half, we've been renting a TINY place near the plaza and are shopping for a purchase. The place we rent is great, everything is updated and we have gated parking etc, it's just too small to stay much longer.

I wanted to make sure we learned the area and got settled well into our jobs and new lives before looking to purchase a condo or house, I feel like we have a good understanding of the crime map and where not to move. We are early 30s and have no children, just a small dog. We sometimes discuss having children but right now with me in grad school and working it's just not something we feel comfortable adding to the equation. In any case school districts won't matter any sooner than 6 years and that's even if we decide to have any kids- we still need to figure out wedding plans and get other things settled.

We both work in Olathe, although the homes are beautiful we have no interest in living out there, we'd rather have a 30 minute commute and live in an area with a nightlife close to the city. We're in a bit of a jam because we just can't narrow it down. We both came from Boston and it seems like one mile in the wrong direction out here can make a huge difference with the feel and pricing of a neighborhood, some things look good on a map but when we go and see them it's right on the edge of where I want to be.

Of what we like so far, there's a foreclosed loft in the city we could easily pull off but paying HOA fees restricts our buying power enough that it seemed smart to up the budget and look at houses. We've seen a few places in Brookside but the houses are just too old, I'm not big on fixing things and would like a move-in ready house. We've seen a few in Waldo but only one was close to shops and the neighborhood just didn't feel right for us. We saw a fantastic place in Mission but the houses around it were not up to par, we don't want the most expensive house on the street, and there didn't seem to be anything happening for restaurants or nightlife- the house was great and it would help the commute so it's still on our list of options.

We've been crammed in a very small place for 18 months and it will feel great to have more square footage, the loft downtown seems very attractive because it would be double the sq footage and we'd own it for the same we pay rent right now, and that even includes the HOA and parking fees. I could see this turning into a rental property in a few years but it's just so tough to tell where downtown is headed right now. We're looking at a few places today, found a 1950 build in Brookside that looks excellent, drove through the neighborhood a few times and it seems like a great spot but we'd need the seller to work with us a bit on the price assuming the viewing checks out. We're also taking a look at a place just west of the plaza but a few drives up the street and we're not crazy about the neighborhood so far, just a tight street with a few houses that looked ready for a wrecking ball, sex offender map showed a less than friendly looking neighbor close by that I felt was a little too close for comfort.

I don't want to sound like we're being ultra-picky, I just want to make sure we buy in a desirable location, our budget is keeping us a bit limited but we certainly have some good choices so far. This is a first-time purchase for us and I'd just like to know what people think. So far I've always liked Brookside, just a bit tricky finding a good fit and avoiding an extremely old home. We were hoping by now to have this narrowed down and it's just not easy, any opinions on the areas we are looking would be great as would suggestions of something we may have overlooked thus far. I've heard Town Center Plaza in Lenexa is nice but I've yet to be out there, think it's worth a look? I think our main preferences would be a 1950's or newer home, little bit of nightlife with shops nearby, and of course a safe area where I can walk my dog around the block at night or in the morning.

Thanks!
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Old 10-02-2011, 01:01 PM
 
29,988 posts, read 35,855,551 times
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Have you looked over on the KS side around Roeland Park? You might have better luck finding a 50's/60's built home, still be close to the Plaza for nightlife, and close to the shops and resturants in "old Mission". Watch out for the low lying areas as they are likely in the flood zone. A quick run up Roe Blvd. puts you on I-35 for your Olathe commute. You might also look at the 1950's ranches S. of 75th and immediately W. of old downtown Overland Park though that might not meet your "nightlife" requirements.

Frankly I'm wondering why the averson to the 30's and 40's built homes as they are generally more solid than those built in the 50's & 60's.

Town Center is in Leawood (119th & Roe/Nall) and "Old Town" is in Lenexa (Pflumm N. of 93rd).

Last edited by lifelongMOgal; 10-02-2011 at 01:11 PM..
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:37 PM
 
7 posts, read 19,607 times
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Originally Posted by lifelongMOgal View Post
Have you looked over on the KS side around Roeland Park? You might have better luck finding a 50's/60's built home, still be close to the Plaza for nightlife, and close to the shops and resturants in "old Mission". Watch out for the low lying areas as they are likely in the flood zone. A quick run up Roe Blvd. puts you on I-35 for your Olathe commute. You might also look at the 1950's ranches S. of 75th and immediately W. of old downtown Overland Park though that might not meet your "nightlife" requirements.

Frankly I'm wondering why the averson to the 30's and 40's built homes as they are generally more solid than those built in the 50's & 60's.

Town Center is in Leawood (119th & Roe/Nall) and "Old Town" is in Lenexa (Pflumm N. of 93rd).
Ah, Leawood, not Lenexa, I still get the towns mixed up out here. On the older houses, maybe it's just our luck or budget but so far all the old homes I have looked at have squeaky floors and overall just feel a bit crusty. Often if they were updated it feels like a quick surface finish to polish a turd, or I see places that have a mixed finish of good updating with half the house not done up to the same standard. I like newer construction with open rooms but much of that falls out of our budget or are not in neighborhoods we are interested in. I guess lots of the older places remind us of my first apartment with lots of small rooms and tiny closets, old fixtures, doors, and floors. I don't want to buy a place and have a desire to blow walls out with a sledge the week I move in, I'd like to just move in and live in it. I think the one we saw in Mission might be near Old Mission, there seemed to be a few small shops nearby but not really a lot to do, the house was nice though and might be something to think about.

We did get a look at the west plaza property and actually liked it a lot. It was built in the 70s and has some well-done updating and the portions that were left original are not too bad. Price might be an issue, hopefully we'll know more later on but it was good to have a look.

I'll take a look at some of the areas you suggested- thanks for the reply!
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,817 posts, read 39,361,269 times
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FWIW, we bought a house built in 1915, updated in period style, and in the two years we've owned it, it's had FAR fewer maintenance needs (actually, it's had none, apart from needing to replace a bathroom sink, which wasn't original, anyway) than the 1960s Waldo ranch we rented before we bought. It's rock solid...quality craftsmanship. Granted, we were specifically LOOKING for a well-maintained vintage home, which doesn't sound like your aesthetic, particularly...just saying that an older home may not be the money pit you're assuming...it all depends on how the upkeep's been. And I wouldn't assume that 1950s or post-1950s construction necessarily equals quality craftsmanship, either. Daughter of a contractor, here, and am fairly appalled at some of the corners cut in newer construction in the KC area.

That said, Roeland Park and Westwood might well suit your needs.
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Old 10-02-2011, 04:09 PM
 
7 posts, read 19,607 times
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Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
FWIW, we bought a house built in 1915, updated in period style, and in the two years we've owned it, it's had FAR fewer maintenance needs (actually, it's had none, apart from needing to replace a bathroom sink, which wasn't original, anyway) than the 1960s Waldo ranch we rented before we bought. It's rock solid...quality craftsmanship. Granted, we were specifically LOOKING for a well-maintained vintage home, which doesn't sound like your aesthetic, particularly...just saying that an older home may not be the money pit you're assuming...it all depends on how the upkeep's been. And I wouldn't assume that 1950s or post-1950s construction necessarily equals quality craftsmanship, either. Daughter of a contractor, here, and am fairly appalled at some of the corners cut in newer construction in the KC area.

That said, Roeland Park and Westwood might well suit your needs.
I'll add those to the list, thanks!

Out of curiosity, how about late 70s construction out here? The place we saw today seemed rock-solid and in a great location but it's built on a steep hill. Believe it or not I don't have any family members or anyone to ask on this stuff so these responses are extremely helpful, thanks again!
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Old 10-02-2011, 04:23 PM
 
29,988 posts, read 35,855,551 times
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Originally Posted by Smokescreen01 View Post
I'll add those to the list, thanks!

Out of curiosity, how about late 70s construction out here? The place we saw today seemed rock-solid and in a great location but it's built on a steep hill. Believe it or not I don't have any family members or anyone to ask on this stuff so these responses are extremely helpful, thanks again!
It really just depends on the house and the area. Many of the homes with the Batten/Board siding which was so prone to rot have been re-sided. The other concern with 1960's and 70's construction is the possibility of aluminium wiring. In Prairie Village, Overland Park, and parts of KCMO the 1940's & 50's construction with block wall foundations can be prone to cracks and heaving when they have not been properly maintained. Your Buyer's agent should be able to review such construction facts and a reputable home inspector with an engineering degree will address structural concerns, should you choose to hire one.

When it comes to hills and choosing homes on them consider the street, your driveway, and the orientation of them. It may take quite awhile in the winter for side streets to be plowed and ice will still be a problem.
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:12 PM
 
7 posts, read 19,607 times
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Originally Posted by lifelongMOgal View Post
It really just depends on the house and the area. Many of the homes with the Batten/Board siding which was so prone to rot have been re-sided. The other concern with 1960's and 70's construction is the possibility of aluminium wiring. In Prairie Village, Overland Park, and parts of KCMO the 1940's & 50's construction with block wall foundations can be prone to cracks and heaving when they have not been properly maintained. Your Buyer's agent should be able to review such construction facts and a reputable home inspector with an engineering degree will address structural concerns, should you choose to hire one.

When it comes to hills and choosing homes on them consider the street, your driveway, and the orientation of them. It may take quite awhile in the winter for side streets to be plowed and ice will still be a problem.

If my memory is right the wiring is copper, which I think should be okay(?). We found out the foundation did have an issue and it had a reinforcement job back in 2003, there's a warranty with the work but I think it can only be transferred one time, still waiting to here back if it was transferred once prior yet. The foundation work looked to be expensive and extensive so I am thinking it's a good thing is that work was done already and everything seemed dry, the bad thing is it had to be done at all and the place is on a hill. The garage is right at the street with just a small patch of pavement in front, not much to shovel, it fits two cars, and seems like snow won't be a big issue. I guess we'll see how it goes from here, I assume the next steps might take a while.

EDIT: Ah, just found out we're not making a move on this one, guess it was not meant to be... the search continues! I'll start looking at some of those other areas, thanks again!

Last edited by Smokescreen01; 10-02-2011 at 07:23 PM..
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:31 PM
 
29,988 posts, read 35,855,551 times
Reputation: 12719
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokescreen01 View Post
If my memory is right the wiring is copper, which I think should be okay(?). We found out the foundation did have an issue and it had a reinforcement job back in 2003, there's a warranty with the work but I think it can only be transferred one time, still waiting to here back if it was transferred once prior yet. The foundation work looked to be expensive and extensive so I am thinking it's a good thing is that work was done already and everything seemed dry, the bad thing is it had to be done at all and the place is on a hill. The garage is right at the street with just a small patch of pavement in front, not much to shovel, it fits two cars, and seems like snow won't be a big issue. I guess we'll see how it goes from here, I assume the next steps might take a while.

EDIT: Ah, just found out we're not making a move on this one, guess it was not meant to be... the search continues! I'll start looking at some of those other areas, thanks again!
Yes, copper wiring is the "norm".

There are too many homes on the market to purchase one with foundation problems. Go to the basement first when house hunting and take your LED flashlight. If the house doens't have "good bones" go on to the next.

Something to keep in mind: a poured concrete foundation is usually approx 6" wide, a block foundation approx 8-12"" wide, and a stone foundation 16-18" wide (interior wall to exterior wall thickness).
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Tower Grove East, St. Louis, MO
12,064 posts, read 27,212,345 times
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Do you mind sharing your budget? I suspect it may be your budget that's keeping you from the nicely maintained and updated vintage homes in Brookside -- that area is mad expensive. Many couples are OK with knowing work needs to be done in order to get into such a desirable neighborhood.

That said, I would definitely consider looking at the Coleman Heights area (ZIP code 64111 -- North of Roanoke Park between State Line Rd and Southwest Trafficway)-- it has nicer, larger and better-maintained housing stock than do West Plaza and Volker. The houses are definitely older than your target, but I think you might find one you really like in that area. Do you mind sharing your budget?
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:02 PM
 
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Did you find a home? How about Nall Hills, Old Leawood or Prairie Village?
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