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Old 06-07-2018, 02:18 PM
 
11,343 posts, read 5,858,212 times
Reputation: 21039

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
I would never buy in a bad location. No way, no how.
Yep. The best strategy is to buy the small house on the small lot in the good town that needs a lot of work. At the numbers the OP is talking, it then takes a lot of sweat equity to rehab the house. In that kind of zip code, the value is the dirt the house is sitting on, not the house.
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Old 06-07-2018, 02:25 PM
 
3,041 posts, read 1,214,969 times
Reputation: 6018
Quote:
Originally Posted by luckeeesmom View Post
When you search the real estate listings, it usually shows the HOA fees. Both places I bought were around $120/monthly which covered the landscaping and yard work, the building exterior, trash pickup, and some amenities as well. Yes it has to be factored into the mortgage underwriting for affordability but, the quality and location of what we could get in our area was much more for the townhome which is why we went that route for the first two homes we bought.

Condo fees on the other hand seem to be much higher than HOA fees are for Townhomes in my area.
I am not sure where you are, but $120 is not going to cover much unless it is developer owned. I am from the OPís area and it was rare to find anything below $250 or so. I am now in the Chicago area and a coworker who was looking who told me she was finding the same thing here with fees for townhomes despite the fact that the properties were much cheaper. I had one townhome that was that low like 20 years ago and ultimately discovered that it was that cheap because it didnít cover exterior insurance.
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Old 06-07-2018, 02:30 PM
 
226 posts, read 77,787 times
Reputation: 520
As cautionary tale, my kitchen ceiling started to leak water this week. The plumber charged in $1,200 to fix three different plumbing issues. I still have to pay to have the ceiling repaired.

The plumber said after a dozen or so years, pipes do need repairs so it wasn't necessarily an unusual repair.

If you ever seen Moonstruck, Cosmo tell the couple about the different types of plumbing pipes and they stand there dumbstruck. It's how I felt this week.

Keep renting. It will save you money and heartache.
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Old 06-07-2018, 02:33 PM
 
Location: East Coast
2,771 posts, read 1,577,248 times
Reputation: 3999
Given the options that you have stated, continue to rent. If those are indeed the only options, you will be doing yourself a disservice by buying one of those homes, unless you have good reason to believe that the neighborhood will improve.

If you're buying a house and don't have enough money to buy the home you really want, focus on the things that you can live with for now but can eventually change. You can change things like the appliances and kitchen cabinets. You can change the flooring. You can change the fixtures. You can finish a basement, create a room in an attic, add on to the house, move interior walls to change floorplans, paint, remove wallpaper, put in optimal furniture, possibly add a garage, widen the driveway, add landscaping, add a deck or patio, change the windows, etc. There are lots and lots of things you can do to a house -- some you can do right away, for little money and a day's effort. Others will require many tens of thousands of dollars (maybe more) of work and need permits and re-doing of electrical work, and perhaps even time away from the home. But lots of things are possible, even if you won't be able to do them for many years.

But what you can't change is the neighborhood. Is the home next to a toxic waste dump? Is there a highway running through the back yard? Is it on a double lane highway? Is the fire station next door? Are there nightly shoot-outs in the street? Those things you can't change. Ever. No matter how much money you might be able to put into the home. So when you eventually get more money and can move into a home that is more desirable for you, then you're stuck selling this one that has lots of negatives, which may even get worse over time. If you don't like something about the property, chances are most other people don't, either.
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Old 06-07-2018, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,004 posts, read 15,307,070 times
Reputation: 23826
One thing to keep in mind is that not everyone has the same idea of the "best neighborhood."

I live very close to the downtown of a college town. New restaurants and bars seem to be opening all the time. There is all sorts of outdoor recreation nearby. For the region, it is by far the hippest and most "action packed" place around.

There are some issues with property crime. Mostly alcohol related and some drugs. It's by no means unsafe, but there are some public housing projects around that I wouldn't want a woman to walk alone at during the night.

Not everyone wants the gold-plated schools in the leafy suburbs.
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Old 06-07-2018, 03:13 PM
 
Location: East Coast
2,771 posts, read 1,577,248 times
Reputation: 3999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
One thing to keep in mind is that not everyone has the same idea of the "best neighborhood."

I live very close to the downtown of a college town. New restaurants and bars seem to be opening all the time. There is all sorts of outdoor recreation nearby. For the region, it is by far the hippest and most "action packed" place around.

There are some issues with property crime. Mostly alcohol related and some drugs. It's by no means unsafe, but there are some public housing projects around that I wouldn't want a woman to walk alone at during the night.

Not everyone wants the gold-plated schools in the leafy suburbs.
While this is true, there are few people who will refuse to buy a property because it is located in an area with good schools.

As far as urban versus suburban versus rural, yeah, there's a disparity. But there's generally more demand for more urban versus more rural. But the people who are in the market for rural aren't even going to consider a place in an urban market.
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Old 06-07-2018, 05:12 PM
 
1,133 posts, read 403,728 times
Reputation: 2304
Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
So, I got prequalified to buy a home and know exactly what I can afford. This takes into account the fact that I am qualified to receive down payment assistance, etc. However, I am rather disappointed in the selection of houses that are at the top of my budget. Here are examples of typical properties that are at the absolute maximum my budget can afford:

1. built in the 80's, needs serious updating, is in a somewhat shady area, near projects, Walmart, KFC, Waffle House, Dollar Tree, etc., poor school system, somewhat high crime, but the neighbors seem to care about their properties

2. built in the 50's, needs serious updating, is in a trashy neighborhood with "beware of dog" signs all over the place on front yard fences, huge warehouse across the street, just steps away from a gentlemen's club, poor school system, somewhat high crime

3. newly renovated inside and out, but the house looks like a giant shed, with just one window, the neighbors totally neglect their properties, with overgrown lawns, lots of junky cars on the lawn, shopping carts on the street, etc., shady area near projects, poor schools, somewhat high crime, mobile home two houses down

Currently, I live in a beautiful apartment complex in a highly desirable, clean, safe area of the city with top notch schools. I'm just disappointed that the reality of buying a home, given my budget, would mean "downgrading" from a nice property and location to an undesirable property and location. Has anyone made such a move? Is it worth it, just for the sake of home ownership?

Next year, I expect my financial situation to improve. I'm expecting a pay raise, promotion, bigger bonus, significantly more cash savings and more disposable income. But I'm already 34 and have been renting my whole adult life!

Thoughts?

Why don't you wait after your financial situation improves and then see what your home budget would be then.It's better to be renting in a nice,clean,safe place then to say you own your own home but you're living in a horrible neighborhood,trashy and very unsafe.Living in a very desirable area means everything regardless if you're renting or owning and if you can only rent in that desirable area, then so be it.
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Old 06-07-2018, 06:14 PM
 
15,833 posts, read 18,460,249 times
Reputation: 25619
It's good to know you are pre-qualified, keep a tight rein on your credit and don't make new bills. What I'd suggest is that you keep avidly looking for the home you might want and continue living in your nice apartment until you do. If you are expecting a better income wait it out....

And, it is true.....Location! if it's all you can afford...buy the worst house in the best neighborhood.
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,004 posts, read 15,307,070 times
Reputation: 23826
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagoliz View Post
While this is true, there are few people who will refuse to buy a property because it is located in an area with good schools.

As far as urban versus suburban versus rural, yeah, there's a disparity. But there's generally more demand for more urban versus more rural. But the people who are in the market for rural aren't even going to consider a place in an urban market.
I never said that people will refuse to buy a nice home in a good school district. Most people, especially those with kids, do aspire to that.

There is often a major premium for that best school district. Good schools do protect your property value. With that said, there are plenty of valid reasons for not choosing that suburban home in the tiger parent school district.

I've seen the OP's posts for years. He has kicked around owning a home for at least five years. I don't see him as the type for the gold-plated school district. He's moved around a lot. There are other things going on.

I was in a sort of similar situation last year, though I was preapproved for up to $180k. I'm also in a smaller, cheaper market and net about a third more income.

A 1BR here can be found for under $600. Sometimes you can find a 2BR for under that. The nicest complex in the area has 1BRs at around $900. This place has quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, a large saltwater pool the size of a good beach hotel, a free onsite car wash, etc.

It's hard to find an SFH for that, even entry level with a decent DP.
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:47 PM
 
982 posts, read 283,099 times
Reputation: 1440
"I am rather disappointed"

" 1 needs serious updating"

"2 needs serious updating"

"shady"

"trashy"

"shady" again.

Breathe a little....
"Currently, I live in a beautiful apartment complex in a highly desirable, clean, safe area"

No brainer for me.

When you are totally aware of your pleasant surroundings, don't beat yourself up forcing yourself to indulge in trashy and shady and disappointment.

Just enjoy what you have. Keep working right along.

(BTW, those shady and trashy areas do not necessarily guarantee you will be able to sell a home in such an area and the conditions you describe in a year or so.)
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