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Old 02-20-2010, 09:14 PM
26 posts, read 50,754 times
Reputation: 27


I am new to San Antonio and am perplexed as to why almost every community is gated, including apartment complexes. Is the crime rate super high all over the place here? Or, is it to present an image of status? I do not mean to offend anyone by asking this question. If it is because of the crime rate then it appears no area in Bexar county has a low or an "average" crime rate because these gated communities are everywhere you look. Gates must mean HOA fees or extra expenses passed on to residents and I'm guessing also a potential delay every time someone drives out of their neighborhood. What a drag. I thought Texans don't like regulations, especially when it comes to property they own, so why all the homeowners associations? I never personally experienced the need for myself and my neighbors to be regulated by rules once I was able to buy in solid middle-class neighborhoods in other cities. I also see middle-class neighborhoods here that have new houses built literally 10 feet apart, no privacy or land. And really expensive houses and less pricey ones built next to impoverished neighborhoods/areas with dogs running around all over the place and piles of trash in every yard. My questions are: What's up with all the gates? Does anyone know where a house can be bought for under $250K north of I-1604, close to east or west of I-10, without a homeowners association and gates ... with at least a quarter acre so neighbors aren't looking into each other's windows every day? In other words, in a regular neighborhood like you can find all around the U.S.? Can't leave NW San Antonio so I'm hoping someone can tell me about some of the neighborhoods in the Leon Springs area. Don't want to live in a rural area like Grey Forest. If the gates are about image, the image projected to me is "high crime area" not "upscale area" ... that's just coming from this outsider's perspective. Checked out Boerne, tiny pockets of OK neighborhoods but appears there's a lot of "near-poverty" there, all over, yet the cost of living is ridiculously high for some strange reason. Yeah, the small 2-block or so downtown Main Street strip is cute but the cost of housing, utilities, etc. is pretty high; it doesn't make any sense because the rest of the town off Main Street appears like patchy "neighborhoods" of struggling rural working people and the town is far away from decent shopping amenities, etc. Fair Oaks Ranch is really nice but very expensive. I am guessing the property tax and HOA fee is very high there. Imagine the total monthly mortgage payment for a house over $200K or $225K. And it's hard to find a house for less than $225K. Noted one townhouse complex there but its one vacant rental was going for $1,300 I think. That's rent, not a mortgage. Thought San Antonio was supposed to have a relatively low cost of living?! High property taxes suk. I know, no state income tax but that means a large tax burden is chiefly put on homeowners because revenue has to come from somewhere. The tax burden is not bad if you want to always rent and never buy. Appreciate advice/answers/help from anyone, thank you!
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:27 PM
Location: San Antonio/Houston/Tricity
37,989 posts, read 55,756,232 times
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Those are "little ghettos" for people that for whatever the reason is want to live behind fences and gates....
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:30 PM
Location: SoCal-So Proud!
4,263 posts, read 9,713,783 times
Reputation: 1551
Sent you a DM.
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:31 PM
37 posts, read 177,486 times
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Not sure if you'll ever find anything around N I-10 that will be under 250k. Once in a while, a great deal will come up in Fair Oaks that you have to snatch up quickly. It seems like what you are looking for is FO, so just keep your eyes open. How about going a little more west like Helotes?
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:55 PM
1,128 posts, read 789,412 times
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You get what you pay for, although, I agree with you about the property taxes here. They are insane. We love Fair Oaks Ranch and want to move up there as soon as we can sell our current home. I understand what you are saying about very nice homes by really dumpy areas. Coming from Colorado Springs, this was all new to us... you would never see a nice neighborhood next to a run-down trailer park. The HOA thing was sold to us as a "plus", but ours can't even get our fences looking presentable. As for gates, I guess I'm in the minority, because I wish we were in a gated neighborhood with street lights. Like someone else said, check Helotes.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:00 PM
Location: San Antonio
3,369 posts, read 9,891,603 times
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Originally Posted by swbound View Post
And really expensive houses and less pricey ones built next to impoverished neighborhoods/areas with dogs running around all over the place and piles of trash in every yard.

That is because they were probably next to nice neighborhoods at one time, but those neighborhoods didn't have HOAs, so everything went to crap.

My HOA leaves us alone. One of my neighbors left their trash can in their front yard, and the HOA made them move it (Thank God for the HOA!), another neighbor had foot high grass and the HOA made them cut it (Thank God for the HOA). I find them helpful, not hurtful. Some buyers won't buy houses not in HOAs because they don't want to end up living next to someone with broke-down cars in the front yard and quilts as blinds on the living room windows.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:27 PM
574 posts, read 1,164,129 times
Reputation: 400
When I was shopping around for a house I found the massive amount of gated communities odd. They don't appeal to me but I wondered why they are do popular here. They are a few communities where I noticed HOAs but the yards still were either full of weeds or the overall landscaping was scarce and unattractive. Is it a suburban mindset where people feel more comfortable in psuedo-secure neighborhoods?
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:38 PM
15,065 posts, read 19,698,609 times
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Everytime I see a gated neighborhood, I wonder who paid for the streets and sidewalks inside the gated area.
If the whole city paid for it, the whole city should be able to use those streets and sidewalks.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:42 PM
436 posts, read 1,445,119 times
Reputation: 165
yeah- we noticed that too. we gave up on trying to find a non-hoa community that was to our liking and budget.

so, here is my random thought, since we live in a gated neighborhood with a hoa...

turns out, the hoa dues pay for the streets in the neighborhood. kind of a hard pill to swallow when your builder/hoa tells you that, since your first thought is "shouldn't the developer or city pay for that?" but, then they tell you that since the community is gated, they are the property of the hoa, therefore, the hoa maintains it. then the residents think, "well, that makes sense". when, really, it does not. I woudl rather have the city pay for the street, take away my gate, and let everyone use it.

I could be completely wrong, but that is my take on it.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:56 PM
Location: Austin, TX via San Antonio, TX
6,182 posts, read 8,653,627 times
Reputation: 3422
swbound -you should look for homes south of 1604 and north of 410 on 10. There are plenty of homes that fit what you are looking for in that area. You may have to compromise on the master planned community aspect of things but I do know that my neighborhood, Tanglewood does not have an HOA, has plenty of trees, friendly neighbors and is priced in the 130s-170s and is not gates. The yards aren't huge but they aren't garden homes either. We may be a big state, but land in the area is at a premium. No matter where you go in San Antonio you're going to pay above or near that 200k mark to get .25 acres on the northwest side of San Antonio.
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