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Old 09-25-2007, 08:57 PM
 
Location: Western Bexar County
3,823 posts, read 13,343,533 times
Reputation: 1905

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojokitty View Post
Well, we are military and we wanted to buy a house. I thought if we could get in a "good neighborhood" then it would be easier to sell down there. We would be down there at least 3-4 years. I'm a little discouraged after hearing other people advise against it. Any others with words of encouragement?
I am retired military (26 years) and I bought a house here because I planed to retire here. I was just offering advice as I have seen several military members that had to either sell their house at a loss or foreclosure. There were many VA foreclosures back in the early 90's. Anyway, good luck on finding a house if you decide to buy.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Helotes, TX
469 posts, read 2,166,820 times
Reputation: 115
Sonoma Ranch is not a bad idea, we have many military neighbors that work at both Wilford and Randolph and the commute is equal between both. All the ones I've met are military doctors (oncologists, er, flight surgeons, cardiologists, very convenient!) so they are here for 4+ years. We have Beard Elementary right here and you can get a home below $200k if you look in the Arbor which is the non-gated community area (I hate our gates). And yeah, the resale is great.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:45 PM
 
4,796 posts, read 13,707,417 times
Reputation: 2709
Just my own personal thoughts....and this depends on what you are willing to do. First consideration is school district...from elementary to high school, even if you don't have kids in that range. School districts hold real estate value more than anything.

Second...buy low in that area....a fixer upper that may just need "lipstick" and not a total rehaul. Look for a diamond in the rough if you are willing to invest a little in landscaping and interior upgrades. Be sure you check out the neighbors surrounding the property....as Shane has found out, he's got a severe neighbor problem that is killing the value of one of his rentals.

Make sure the house has good bones....invest in an engineers inspection if you buy a fixer upper! All this rain has really created a few nightmares situations. I have one client who's neighbor house was built over a natural spring! The water tables have reached all time highs and they didn't know there was a dry spring under this house until this summer ...and the house is 45 year old!!! (Not sure how they are going to remedy that one!)

If you buy new....buy a house in a development that is not completely finished. As long as there is construction in the area, prices will tend to increase...then historically they level off for a while.

For 200K, I'm sure there is plenty of new construction, but at that price, it will be smaller and a lower end "builder". Watch for things like roofing that is all the same on every house, and brick or stone facades with siding all around the sides and back. (I apologize if I'm describing someone's house!) But historically....those are cost cutters and if they show on the outside, the quality on the parts you can't see is even worse. Time will not wear well on these types of developments.

Builders in the past like Ray Ellison were notorious for cheap construction. Look at Camelot on the North East side. That neighborhood was very appealing and "NICE" when it was new. It's tragic now....and hurting a lot of the comps in the area.

If you buy new....make sure you're near a solid community, or area that you know will not depreciate....or if any raw land is next to the development be sure that you know what will be built there. It would be a nightmare to have an apartment complex back up to your property.....or some commercial/industrial slab building in your back yard!

Lastly...NEVER buy the most expensive property in your neighborhood.....you will never get your appreciation back. You'll want higher comps surrounding you in the future!

Best of luck and keep us posted!!

(Hey KevinCrawford...how am I doing? Correct me if I'm off on anything!)
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:51 AM
 
1,740 posts, read 5,183,213 times
Reputation: 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by wCat View Post
Just my own personal thoughts....and this depends on what you are willing to do. First consideration is school district...from elementary to high school, even if you don't have kids in that range. School districts hold real estate value more than anything.

Second...buy low in that area....a fixer upper that may just need "lipstick" and not a total rehaul. Look for a diamond in the rough if you are willing to invest a little in landscaping and interior upgrades. Be sure you check out the neighbors surrounding the property....as Shane has found out, he's got a severe neighbor problem that is killing the value of one of his rentals.

Make sure the house has good bones....invest in an engineers inspection if you buy a fixer upper! All this rain has really created a few nightmares situations. I have one client who's neighbor house was built over a natural spring! The water tables have reached all time highs and they didn't know there was a dry spring under this house until this summer ...and the house is 45 year old!!! (Not sure how they are going to remedy that one!)

If you buy new....buy a house in a development that is not completely finished. As long as there is construction in the area, prices will tend to increase...then historically they level off for a while.

For 200K, I'm sure there is plenty of new construction, but at that price, it will be smaller and a lower end "builder". Watch for things like roofing that is all the same on every house, and brick or stone facades with siding all around the sides and back. (I apologize if I'm describing someone's house!) But historically....those are cost cutters and if they show on the outside, the quality on the parts you can't see is even worse. Time will not wear well on these types of developments.

Builders in the past like Ray Ellison were notorious for cheap construction. Look at Camelot on the North East side. That neighborhood was very appealing and "NICE" when it was new. It's tragic now....and hurting a lot of the comps in the area.

If you buy new....make sure you're near a solid community, or area that you know will not depreciate....or if any raw land is next to the development be sure that you know what will be built there. It would be a nightmare to have an apartment complex back up to your property.....or some commercial/industrial slab building in your back yard!

Lastly...NEVER buy the most expensive property in your neighborhood.....you will never get your appreciation back. You'll want higher comps surrounding you in the future!

Best of luck and keep us posted!!

(Hey KevinCrawford...how am I doing? Correct me if I'm off on anything!)
Great advice. Especially about the brick issue. This is very hard to find. Fewer and fewer neighborhoods have 100% brick/stone exteriors without going custom. One - Saddle Mountain - in Stone Oak is a rare exception. But beware - the pricing is high - $275K up to $350K after upgrades. It is a KB community but backs up to a greenbelt (a park) and is one of their premium communities with neighboring neighborhoods being equally expensive if not more.

About the roofing material. I would add that the same color is not so much a problem as the quality. Avoid those developments that don't use 30 year architectural shingles at a minimum. They last longer and add much more appeal to the development.

School districts are important. North Side and NEISD are both really good. You can't go wrong there. Taxes are high - but the appreciation is generally good.

I would avoid anything West of IH10 and East of IH35. That said - you will have a hard time finding a home less than $200K in the north central area with four bedrooms - especially if you go new.
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Old 09-26-2007, 08:31 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
4,149 posts, read 9,300,473 times
Reputation: 3308
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojokitty View Post
Well, we are military and we wanted to buy a house. I thought if we could get in a "good neighborhood" then it would be easier to sell down there. We would be down there at least 3-4 years. I'm a little discouraged after hearing other people advise against it. Any others with words of encouragement?
Quote:
Originally Posted by wCat View Post
Just my own personal thoughts....and this depends on what you are willing to do. First consideration is school district...from elementary to high school, even if you don't have kids in that range. School districts hold real estate value more than anything.

Second...buy low in that area....a fixer upper that may just need "lipstick" and not a total rehaul. Look for a diamond in the rough if you are willing to invest a little in landscaping and interior upgrades. Be sure you check out the neighbors surrounding the property....as Shane has found out, he's got a severe neighbor problem that is killing the value of one of his rentals.

Make sure the house has good bones....invest in an engineers inspection if you buy a fixer upper! All this rain has really created a few nightmares situations. I have one client who's neighbor house was built over a natural spring! The water tables have reached all time highs and they didn't know there was a dry spring under this house until this summer ...and the house is 45 year old!!! (Not sure how they are going to remedy that one!)

If you buy new....buy a house in a development that is not completely finished. As long as there is construction in the area, prices will tend to increase...then historically they level off for a while.

For 200K, I'm sure there is plenty of new construction, but at that price, it will be smaller and a lower end "builder". Watch for things like roofing that is all the same on every house, and brick or stone facades with siding all around the sides and back. (I apologize if I'm describing someone's house!) But historically....those are cost cutters and if they show on the outside, the quality on the parts you can't see is even worse. Time will not wear well on these types of developments.

Builders in the past like Ray Ellison were notorious for cheap construction. Look at Camelot on the North East side. That neighborhood was very appealing and "NICE" when it was new. It's tragic now....and hurting a lot of the comps in the area.

If you buy new....make sure you're near a solid community, or area that you know will not depreciate....or if any raw land is next to the development be sure that you know what will be built there. It would be a nightmare to have an apartment complex back up to your property.....or some commercial/industrial slab building in your back yard!

Lastly...NEVER buy the most expensive property in your neighborhood.....you will never get your appreciation back. You'll want higher comps surrounding you in the future!

Best of luck and keep us posted!!

(Hey KevinCrawford...how am I doing? Correct me if I'm off on anything!)
Pretty much dead on! There's a place for new construction in the market, but personally, I just bought a 20 year old Sitterle home in NCSA for a little more than it would have cost me to get new construction, as I know it's built better and it's in an established neighborhood, so I know the future of the neighborhood and its surroundings. Being a Realtor, I was able to pick out a neighborhood that I really liked and immediately be emailed if anything came on the market. One popped up and I went out to tie it up in a contract within 45 minutes.

I set my clients up on the same emails too, but on the really good deals, they don't normally get back to me quick enough to get out there and make a decision.

I'd recommend just getting a tour of some neighborhoods to see what it is that you like, get your Realtor to set you up on that auto-notification and get ready to roll quickly if something comes up.

There are homes out there that are what you're looking for, but they move quickly when they're put on the market.
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Old 09-26-2007, 10:53 AM
 
1,740 posts, read 5,183,213 times
Reputation: 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevcrawford View Post
Pretty much dead on! There's a place for new construction in the market, but personally, I just bought a 20 year old Sitterle home in NCSA for a little more than it would have cost me to get new construction, as I know it's built better and it's in an established neighborhood, so I know the future of the neighborhood and its surroundings. Being a Realtor, I was able to pick out a neighborhood that I really liked and immediately be emailed if anything came on the market. One popped up and I went out to tie it up in a contract within 45 minutes.

I set my clients up on the same emails too, but on the really good deals, they don't normally get back to me quick enough to get out there and make a decision.

I'd recommend just getting a tour of some neighborhoods to see what it is that you like, get your Realtor to set you up on that auto-notification and get ready to roll quickly if something comes up.

There are homes out there that are what you're looking for, but they move quickly when they're put on the market.
One thing to remember though - is when buying older - there are lots of hidden costs if it hasn't been recently updated. ie: new A/C, new carpet, kitchen/baths tend to be out of date, single pane windows (efficiency issue), lack of a radiant barrier (efficiency issue), etc. If you can get a good home that has been updated in a good neighborhood in North Central SA - it is usually more expensive than new construction in Stone Oak for example. If it is cheaper - then it typically needs the items mentioned above.
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Old 09-26-2007, 02:20 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
4,149 posts, read 9,300,473 times
Reputation: 3308
I think that's something to be aware of, but definitely not the norm. New homes are built to code, but code is only what it takes to make a house safe to live in. All houses, old or new, are different in their construction quality. I've seen some new homes that I'd just assume condemn before anyone moves in. I had a buddy buy a new home and called me to ask me why his clothes rod fell out of the wall, bathtub leaked gallons of water through the ceiling, doors were placed in such a way that they wouldn't open completely, etc, etc, etc. I asked who built the home. Once he told me, I told him that that was his answer (and that he should have called me first, but that's a story for another time )

When you look for a home, just be very upfront about everything you want, have your Realtor find one with as many of those options as possible, and then make sure you get it inspected.
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Old 09-26-2007, 08:55 PM
 
260 posts, read 1,020,936 times
Reputation: 126
Check out Alamo Ranch in the Pulte section called De Zavala, just google Alamo Ranch and it comes up. I work at WHMC and BAMC at a resident I love it here.
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Old 09-27-2007, 07:15 AM
 
1,740 posts, read 5,183,213 times
Reputation: 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevcrawford View Post
I think that's something to be aware of, but definitely not the norm. New homes are built to code, but code is only what it takes to make a house safe to live in. All houses, old or new, are different in their construction quality. I've seen some new homes that I'd just assume condemn before anyone moves in. I had a buddy buy a new home and called me to ask me why his clothes rod fell out of the wall, bathtub leaked gallons of water through the ceiling, doors were placed in such a way that they wouldn't open completely, etc, etc, etc. I asked who built the home. Once he told me, I told him that that was his answer (and that he should have called me first, but that's a story for another time )

When you look for a home, just be very upfront about everything you want, have your Realtor find one with as many of those options as possible, and then make sure you get it inspected.
Who built the home is a big consideration...but even with high end builders you can have major problems. Sitterle has been in the news concerning a problem with a very expensive home in Emerald Forest...so just having a good builder doesn't assure you that you will have no problems. JD power just ranked track home builders in Texas/San Antonio and the best were Centex, Pulte and KB. The worst was Gordon Hartman/McMillin Homes. Another thing that plays a big part in the quality of the home is the super on the job. If you have a good super/forman - then you will get a good house. Even if you buy a new home - make sure to get an inspection before you close.
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Old 09-27-2007, 02:04 PM
 
4,796 posts, read 13,707,417 times
Reputation: 2709
Quote:
Originally Posted by banker View Post
Who built the home is a big consideration...but even with high end builders you can have major problems. Sitterle has been in the news concerning a problem with a very expensive home in Emerald Forest...so just having a good builder doesn't assure you that you will have no problems. JD power just ranked track home builders in Texas/San Antonio and the best were Centex, Pulte and KB. The worst was Gordon Hartman/McMillin Homes. Another thing that plays a big part in the quality of the home is the super on the job. If you have a good super/forman - then you will get a good house. Even if you buy a new home - make sure to get an inspection before you close.
Banker....I have to agree with you completely. My only reservation is the JD Power ratings on track home builders. The 'category' of track builders is very important to note. I'm not a fan of any of the three top ranked mentioned, but it depends on what "level" they are being rated on. KB definitely has a wide range of prices in their outrageous number of developments. Even within their own company, some cannot be compared in quality to others just because of the price range.
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