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Old 10-01-2012, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
9,605 posts, read 8,340,791 times
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My son is looking to purchase his first home in the area. However, its seems that the only homes available in his price range ($150,000 max) are rather old Pre-WWII homes, or very small crackerbox type homes in not so good neighborhoods, or houses that will require a long commute. Having come from Texas, he's suffering from "sticker shock". Does anyone know of an area or two that might have some decent affordable housing with good schools? Any help is appreciated.
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:20 PM
 
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Iowa City is the most expensive area in Iowa to buy a home. I live in CR and am not too familiar with the housing market in IC, but think it will be difficult to find a newer home for under $150,000. Perhaps West Branch or North Liberty?
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:28 PM
 
708 posts, read 774,550 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prairieparson View Post
My son is looking to purchase his first home in the area. However, its seems that the only homes available in his price range ($150,000 max) are rather old Pre-WWII homes, or very small crackerbox type homes in not so good neighborhoods, or houses that will require a long commute. Having come from Texas, he's suffering from "sticker shock". Does anyone know of an area or two that might have some decent affordable housing with good schools? Any help is appreciated.
How are you determining which are good neighborhoods and which aren't?

Iowa City is priced higher than other areas, that is for certain.

I'm assuming you are judging good schools by test scores alone. If that is the case, perhaps he'll have to pick a school and then modify the type of housing he'd desire accordingly.
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
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I've suggested the same Betsy, but I was just curious myself. I was basing my impressions of the real estate market on web sites like Realtor.com., which is difficult from 1000 miles away. I was hoping to get some local confirmation from people who actually live in the area. My guess is that he is going to have to commute some to find a house he can afford in a neighborhood/town with good schools. He really likes Mt. Vernon but it doesn't appear that they have had a lot of building activity in the last 30 years, so he may have to purchase an older home. My initial suggestion was to stay away from them as a first time homeowner, especially in a rural area, because there will be more maint., higher energy bills, more difficulty with repair people, contractors etc,
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:25 PM
 
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There is also Solon, if the dynamic of a smaller town appeals to him. I'm sure others could chime in about smaller town options.
Mount Vernon seems like a charming town. For me personally, I think the gas costs might add up and it would get old in the winter. West Branch might be worth investigating as another poster pointed out.

Part of North Liberty and all of Coralville are in the same school district as Iowa City. Home prices tend to be similar, it would be tough to find what you want in that price range. The ICCSD(Iowa City Community School District) has a lot to offer compared to many of the nearby smaller districts, but only your son can determine what is important in that respect. I think it is important to note that if your son buys a house in the anywhere in the ICCSD, that the schools essentially share the same curriculum. Schools with a higher concentration of university parents tend to skew the test scores of some schools higher than what they would be normally.

I see your location is Lubbock...I've never been there so I can't compare. I hesitate to make any statements about bad neighborhoods, as many often equate a certain demographic means the neighborhood is bad. There is some crime throughout the area. Some would suggest the crime is mostly a function of college kids, but I don't quite agree.

I'd definitely steer clear of areas where there are higher concentrations of student housing.

Would he consider a condo type arrangement for the short term, until he could afford something else?
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:40 AM
 
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Where is your son working? In Iowa City, or somewhere else close by? I like Mt. Vernon, but wouldn't be excited about commuting that far, if I didn't have to. The Solon suggestion is good...small town, but right by Lake Macbide, which is nice. Taking a quick look at Zillow, there are nice options in North Liberty:

235 S Chestnut St, North Liberty, IA 52317 - Zillow
40 N Dubuque St # 1, North Liberty, IA 52317 - Zillow
20 Hackberry St, North Liberty, IA 52317 - Zillow

Otherwise, he could get a very nice duplex or townhome in that price-range.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, ny
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You should also have your son consider Tiffin.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:45 AM
 
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If your son is working at UofI, he may enjoy his job immensely. If he is not, he should consider living somewhere else. As other posters have said, Iowa City is the most expensive place in Iowa. If he wanted to be in Iowa, Des Moines offers better options. Cedar Rapids would as well if he just has to be in that part of Iowa.

I had sticker shock also when I looked at Iowa prices (and taxes!!), then I moved out of Iowa and never regretted it .

The suggestions for small towns around there are pretty good, if your son likes the small town kind of living. The whole pay to cost of living thing seemed thrown out of whack in Iowa City unless you had one of those UofI jobs. On a 150k house he's going to pay about 3k/year in property taxes.
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Old 04-14-2013, 01:14 PM
 
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Iowa City is an expensive city to live. It's far outside the norm for much of Iowa. Have your son consider nearby places like Tiffin, Hills, or Riverside. These places will range from a 10-20 minute commute. If you think about it, that's no worse than being in a major city getting by in crappy traffic. The amount of money he will save by staying outside the IC area is well worth it.
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:58 AM
 
3,492 posts, read 5,150,666 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P1985 View Post
Iowa City is an expensive city to live. It's far outside the norm for much of Iowa. Have your son consider nearby places like Tiffin, Hills, or Riverside. These places will range from a 10-20 minute commute. If you think about it, that's no worse than being in a major city getting by in crappy traffic. The amount of money he will save by staying outside the IC area is well worth it.
No worse, except you're dealing with the commute of a major city without the amenities. It's like paying for dinner without eating it.
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