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Old 04-16-2012, 05:58 AM
9 posts, read 21,501 times
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Hello all! I'm finding tons of great information on this forum. The members here are very active and informative.

My wife and I are weighing the difference between single family homes or a townhouse/condo. We are both working professionals and currently live in a townhouse out here in Chicagoland. It sucks not having a yard but then again, we really enjoy the maintenance free living right now with our jobs and schedules. For the next five years, we really are looking for a property that will act as a starter home to get settled in San Antonio while we take care of affairs with the terrible market in Chicago. After that time we are either going to sell or rent.

We are looking at single family home communities like Braun Station for the prospect to rent/sell to a young family later down the road (or even settle in if we love it once we have kids). Hence the need for good school districts etc. Then again, we both like city life (not chain restaurants and big box retailers) and my wife is an interior designer/artist by trade. She really wants to be in/near Southtown but I'm worried about the transitional nature of the area. I own two motorcycles and one of my cars definitely can't just be parked on the street. I then stumbled onto Artisan Park Townhomes and got the idea to also think about starting with a condo/townhouse to later rent/sell to young professionals. From my research, Southtown may be on the cusp of being "the hip" area to live and values holding well if the transition continues to move along as people rehab the great character of houses down there.

So, does anyone have any personal insight or opinion on Artisan Park?

Does anyone have suggestions on condos/townhouses anywhere else in the city that leans on the NW side? Price is flexible but I figured I start looking in the $150-200K price range.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:05 AM
Location: San Antonio
437 posts, read 776,777 times
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As someone who lived in the Braun Station area for 13 years and moved near Downtown (Dignowity Hill) in December 2009, I simply wanted to say that I'd never move back to a neighborhood near Bandera Rd inside or outside 1604. The traffic is horrendous at all times of the day. Once in a while I go back that way (I love to shop at Rainbow Gardens) and the traffic is even worse now than in 2009. One nice thing about living where I do now is that I never sit in any kind of traffic anymore. I was so used to it, I didn't realize how bad it was. Now that I don't live with traffic, I'm shocked every time I go back.

Aside from the fact that living within walking/biking distance from the coolest places in San Antonio is great, I've also enjoyed my 1921 craftsman bungalow and the great people who live in my neighborhood. Southtown is definitely worth a look. Chaka will probably chime in shortly and I'll leave it to folks who live in Southtown to tell you what a neat place it is.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:13 AM
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Re: Artisan Park Townhomes - I've seen a few and they're nice, and everyone I know who lives in them is very happy there. Note that the townhomes are distinct from Refugio Apartments (which have had issues) and distinct from the new Hemisview apartments, but all on the same large plot of land across from the Tower.

I can't really comment on how good of an investment they'd be in terms of long term resale, though the area's value has increased dramatically and will continue to do so (just not sure how townhomes/condos fare in that). Investing in a house will see a gain (unless you sink too much money into high end restorations not well planned out).

re: being on the cusp of "hip" - it pretty much is now. It's still in a state of revitalization, which means you get some shacks in the midst of high end properties. The properties in Lavaca tend to be smaller and on smaller lots than King William (the other half of Southtown). That's because Lavaca was built by and for the tradesmen who built King William for the Captains of Industry....Housing stock reflects that, though there are some real gems, and some recent redos by high end architects that have won awards. Though it doesn't look perfect everywhere, it's far beyond the concerns typical of early transitional neighborhoods. Issues with theft/vandalism, etc are no worse here than anywhere else. We feel perfectly safe. There's the occasional car "break in" (usually the result of someone not locking their car so I'm not sure it's truly a break in....), but it's not a significant problem and the neighbors really look out for each other. I know as many people in outer loop neighborhoods who've had break ins as in Lavaca (actually, more in the outer loop). General precautions are really all that are necessary. Sure, if you don't want your vehicle to have dings/scratches - which is really the main risk of being on the street here, then you'll need a garage. We have a small driveway which is inside an unlocked fence. My car (newer) is usually parked inside the fence while my husband's is on the street. We do have a garage but its location (it was a carriage house/for horses) is not really suitable for parking.

It's wonderful to be able to walk to many amenities, though, despite recent efforts, San Antonio isn't yet a typical "livable" downtown - i.e. where you can live easily with no vehicle and still meet all your daily needs. That said, I rarely require my car these days except to go grocery shopping or meet friends from other areas. It's wonderful to walk or cycle everywhere. I love running into friends and neighbors everywhere we go. I love knowing I can call on any of them any time for any thing.

It's also VERY family friendly, so no need to move out if you have kids. The local school is excellent and is a big draw for many trying to buy in the neighborhood. But, just because it's so family friendly doesn't mean it's not great for folks without kids. There's a big mix of ages, lifestyles, and backgrounds and all intermingle well.

I'm not a fan of the Bandera/1604 area. My husband used to live out there (and that was before it got insane with traffic), and many friends still do. I just don't like traffic and lots of box stores. If it's where you work, though, then it may be worthwhile. I do know that a few of our friends who bought in the general area have all had a challenge selling their houses when they moved out of the city, but that could have been due to timing and their price range (~200K...a friend who put her house up for $135K sold it quickly).

Since I hate traffic, I'd say base the first part of your decision on where you work. But yes, Southtown is a fabulous.

Note - there are two groups on Lavaca on Facebook, so if you ask there you are likely to get many responses. And if you're in town on a Thursday, the Lavaca Neighborhood has a weekly happy hour at La Frite at 5pm. Definitely stop by, introduce yourself, and you'll meet loads of people (including those who live in Artisan Park). Here's the website for the neighborhood Lavaca Neighborhood Association | Proudly Serving San Antonio's Oldest Living Neighborhood Also, stop by Friendly Spot (tho lately fewer locals are hanging out there as they've migrated up to Alamo Street Eat Bar), usually you can find many locals to chat with about the area. Most people here are more than willing to talk to you, esp. if you're interested in the area.

Moderator cut: No specific real estate company, broker or agent recommendations can be posted in this forum - use realtor.com only!

Last edited by BstYet2Be; 04-16-2012 at 01:15 PM..
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:22 AM
545 posts, read 907,706 times
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Anyone else noticed how everything is 'artisan' these days? I usually think it's a code word for "previously frozen" but not sure they make a freezer big enough for a condo. Do you get asiago cheese when you move in?
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:18 AM
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No asiago cheese but maybe a free steak from Culebra Meat Market.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by JuanValdez View Post
Anyone else noticed how everything is 'artisan' these days? I usually think it's a code word for "previously frozen" but not sure they make a freezer big enough for a condo. Do you get asiago cheese when you move in?http://best-books-reviews.hostoi.com/sig.jpg
Haha I know exactly what you mean.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:40 PM
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I noticed the realty links were modded out earlier in the thread. Would anyone be able to private message me their personal recommendations of any particular realtors they have used that specialize in the Southtown, Tobin Hill, KW, Soflo area? My wife came home today to the pics and searches I did and pretty much made the proclamation that this area is where we shall reside. Thanks!
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:09 PM
4,268 posts, read 8,359,403 times
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DM sent.

In that price range you'll have a hard time finding a restored home, except for a few flippers who did a shoddy job and have been sitting on the house for awhile. The few on the market in that range tend to have issues. But you might get lucky. For a bit more you can get a restored home on the lower end, for that or less you may be able to get something still in need of rehabbing.

I'd suggest renting first before buying anything, even a condo. You may decide you love the condo and buy, or you may decide other options work for you.

Coming from Chicago you'll probably love this area. Enjoy!
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:23 PM
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Hmmm...what price range do I need to realistically look? 200-250? 250-300?
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:29 PM
4,268 posts, read 8,359,403 times
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Originally Posted by Slip7 View Post
Hmmm...what price range do I need to realistically look? 200-250? 250-300?
Depends on what you're willing to do in terms of work on a house. $250-300K will generally get you something well restored, decent location and nice house. Not huge, but good. More will get you more artistry, not necessarily more in size. $200-250K will get you something restored, but smaller. A lot depends on specific location within the neighborhood, lot size, and who has redone it. I'm talking of Lavaca mainly. In King William, add another $50K and even then it's a stretch. In SoFlo, you could get by with less but SoFlo isn't as advanced in the transition yet - but as you don't have kids, that may not be an issue. It's a cool place. Personally I prefer Lavaca - easier to walk downtown and more established community. SoFlo is still a bit edgy, which has its pro. KW has its Lavaca-esque areas (we call it "Baja KW" but not everyone likes that term), KW proper tends to be a lot of old foggies wishing the hipsters never stepped foot here. Slight exaggeration, but based in truth

Anyway, my recommendation, as always, is don't buy anything until you've lived here awhile, unless it's strictly investment.
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