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Northeastern Pennsylvania Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pocono area
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Old 04-04-2007, 06:43 PM
 
Location: Plymouth & Nanticoke
96 posts, read 393,863 times
Reputation: 57

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Talking to several of my friends from where I grew up, they are in disbelief that you can actually buy a house that's not a trailer for under $50,000. I try to explain what you can get for 50k, but being from Elkins Park, but they just have no concept.

Well it's a fact that you can get a livable fixer upper house for under $50K! Both of the houses I bought were sub $50K houses and they are great! Generally I tell people if you are looking in the better neighborhoods, you may not find a sub 50K house or if you do find one it will be in horrific condition. I have looked at a lot of low $ houses, and you generally have SOME of the following problems to deal with.

Peeling paint or old aluminum siding
broken door knobs, old worn out exterior doors w/ bad weather stripping
sections of bad plaster inside
bad interior paint
bad bathroom plumbing
outdated kitchens with broken or missing appliances
outdated bathrooms with missing or broken equipment
painted or worn hardwood floors
worn out windows
missing storm windows
broken banisters
bad boiler
bad hot water heater
bad roof
outdated electrical

SOME of the things on this last should be bad, if they are ALL bad or worse, this should not be a 50K house, it should be a sub 15K house. In the first house I bought (a 3 unit), I had to deal with Peeling paint outside, worn out exterior doors, a few missing storm windows, bad interior paint, outdated kitchens (though with modern and functioning appliances in all 3 units). Thankfully, all the boilers work (gas seem) all the hot water heaters works, it has modern electrical with 100 amp service + CB's. Even has a new roof! Obviously any sub 50K house should have a solid foundation, good structure and all the door frames should still be square. One of the houses I looked at in Larksville while it looked nice externally, if you put a ball down on the floor at the front of the house, it would have rolled right to the back of the house... No thanks.

Also, once the repairs are completed and it's up to snuff, don't expect a resale value of a crazy amount. My first house now that it's all fixed up is probably worth 90,000-110,000. Location location location. Now granted, that is a pretty nice increase for doing a whole bunch of semi-basic to pretty involved repairs but if I had hired a contractor to do all the work I did myself, it would probably cut $40,000 into the profits. Anyway, once I sell it I do expect a pretty nice profit but since it's rented now, the housing market is down, and the mortgage is being paid by the renters, that won't be for a while...

Areas where you are likely to find houses in livable condition that are Sub 50K? Well off the top of my head, Shickshinny, Plymouth, Nanticoke, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Plymouth, Edwardsville, Larksville, Glen Lyon. Many of these towns also have a reputation of not being the nicest places but overall it is undeserved. There are bad areas in all these towns that should be avoided, but there are plenty of sub 50K houses in areas that are just fine too. Best bet is to park outside of the prespective house during 7-10 in the morning and then again from 4-7 at night. see what goes on in the area near the house. walk around the immediate neighborhood, see how it is. If you intend to buy a house to rent, some of these towns like Glenlyon and Shickshinny I would avoid. very high vacancy rates there and cheap cheap rent.
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Old 04-04-2007, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,565 posts, read 47,390,454 times
Reputation: 11443
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeLorean View Post
Also, once the repairs are completed and it's up to snuff, don't expect a resale value of a crazy amount. My first house now that it's all fixed up is probably worth 90,000-110,000. Location location location. Now granted, that is a pretty nice increase for doing a whole bunch of semi-basic to pretty involved repairs but if I had hired a contractor to do all the work I did myself, it would probably cut $40,000 into the profits. Anyway, once I sell it I do expect a pretty nice profit but since it's rented now, the housing market is down, and the mortgage is being paid by the renters, that won't be for a while...
Don't sell yourself short on the local real estate market. Our parents purchased our home in 1996 for just over $100,000. In 2004, we had the house appraised at around $175,000. We just had our home's replacement value done by our new insurance agent, and the home would cost over $231,000 to replace! In the period of time we've lived here, we haven't done many renovations---we've updated the kitchen, put in an above-ground swimming pool, installed a new front door with sidelights, remodeled the basement, and did some homemade landscaping projects that make the lot look professionally-maintained. I'd now estimate that our home would easily fetch over $200,000 in today's housing market (probably $205,000 would be a good list price for us). It's amazing just how quickly local housing prices have begun to appreciate in the past few years; Rediscover Scranton's web site states that single-family housing values in the city of Scranton have appreciated by 1/3 since 2003, and multi-units have risen in value by 1/2 since 2003! I think as overinflated nearby markets are beginning to "burst" (NJ, NYC, SE PA, Lehigh Valley), our area is poised for substantial real estate gains. For people like me who won't be purchasing a home for about five more years, this stinks, as the market is starting to take off now before I can have a stake in it. However, to those who currently own properties in the region, they can reap the rewards in about a decade or so.
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Old 04-04-2007, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,565 posts, read 47,390,454 times
Reputation: 11443
Also, I'll admit that "location" plays a large role in the situation of our own home. We live almost at the exact midpoint between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre (a new nearby commerce park under development is aptly-named "Center Point"), and the surrounding community of Pittston Township is becoming a commuters' paradise. Our home sits in a small subdivision of 31 homes only one or two minutes from the exits of I-81 and I-476. Pittston Township is also only one of three communities out of the 76 total in Luzerne County that does not have a local municipal tax (the other two being rapidly-growing Butler Township, near Hazleton, and rural Slocum Township, near Mocanaqua). Our home might be appreciating so quickly simply because there's a shortage of available for-sale housing in the township at a time when an increasing number of people want to live only fifteen minutes from both Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. I'm actually surprised that we haven't seen even more subdivisions springing up this year than we already have been (although Quail Hill, Gable Crest, and Horizon Estates are blemishes enough on our township's once-rural landscape with their McMansions and townhomes). Not all is "rosy" here though---traffic congestion along Highway 315 near our home continues to worsen, and will likely continue to do so once the new Pittston Crossings and related projects are completed (Wal-Mart Supercenter, Home Depot, etc.). Air pollution (smog) is so bad in our neighborhood that when I go running along Highway 315, I occasionally fall into intense coughing fits (one of which had me throwing up my Propel all over the pavement!) People can take suburbia and shove it! I've grown up here in this bland wasteland devoid of culture, diversity, and a true "downtown" area, and I'm ready to take the plunge by moving into Scranton (even though others are telling me I'm "crazy" for doing so).

Last edited by SteelCityRising; 04-04-2007 at 07:08 PM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 04-04-2007, 07:38 PM
 
Location: Plymouth & Nanticoke
96 posts, read 393,863 times
Reputation: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScrantonWilkesBarre View Post
Don't sell yourself short on the local real estate market. Our parents purchased our home in 1996 for just over $100,000. In 2004, we had the house appraised at around $175,000. We just had our home's replacement value done by our new insurance agent, and the home would cost over $231,000 to replace!
haha, my house in Nanticoke... replacement value.... get this! $650,000! yeah... it's insured for the mortgage amount with a good liability policy. 650K is crazy, but that probably is the correct "rebuild value" for a 3500 sq ft 3 unit from 1933. built to modern code.
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Old 04-04-2007, 08:02 PM
 
11 posts, read 31,460 times
Reputation: 14
Quote:
Talking to several of my friends from where I grew up, they are in disbelief that you can actually buy a house that's not a trailer for under $50,000
LMAO!!!! That was funny! When I first moved out here 4 1/2 years ago, my friends kept asking me what trailer park I was looking at and if my neighbors had teeth! I'm still wondering about the latter!!!
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Old 04-04-2007, 10:39 PM
 
Location: Plymouth & Nanticoke
96 posts, read 393,863 times
Reputation: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by roxbury View Post
LMAO!!!! That was funny! When I first moved out here 4 1/2 years ago, my friends kept asking me what trailer park I was looking at and if my neighbors had teeth! I'm still wondering about the latter!!!
yep, I get the same questions...
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Old 04-05-2007, 09:18 AM
 
11 posts, read 31,460 times
Reputation: 14
If I could buy a house for 50K, I'd flip it! The housing out here from what I can see has jumped some what from when I bought. You'd definitely get a return on something like that. But it's all about location. Even in this slow real estate market, you could get a decent return, as long as you sell it quickly enough. Again, it's all about the location (also what repairs and upgrades went into the home).
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