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Old 02-09-2014, 06:43 PM
 
206 posts, read 223,536 times
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toured each area of potential interest(except atl beach) extensively, and my perceptions of these areas an what will and wouldn't work for me have changed somewhat.

1) Avondale- was leaning towards a 12-1300 sq ft bungalow type house in Avondale(which looks like they can be had for 190-230k)...something like this that sold recently:

1283 Hollywood Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32205 - Zillow

the problem is these houses look a lot like shanties. yes a decently maintained shanty over the years. And shanties that are move in ready for the most part and livable. But a shanty nonetheless. And in driving up and down Hollywood avenue(and a few other Avondale streets where smaller houses are), you see the same thing- small houses that look even smaller than they are. And the neighborhood(and I mean on most of the streets with the small to medium sized houses not the river estates) is maintained and looks 'ok' aesthetically.....it doesn't look great. You don't see tons of trash, but it's certainly not posh. You see a ton of older cheap cars. And while you don't see yards that are completely neglected(like 2 foot high grass), you see mostly mediocre yards/shrubbery as well. Yes the very best Avondale homes have great looking huge oak trees, but those houses are well into the 7 figures. The houses you can buy for up to 500k or so don't have the same qualities in terms of natural beauty around them.

Then I wonder well why not spend a good bit more and get something nicer in Avondale?

1508 Avondale Avenue, Jacksonville FL - Trulia

This house looks much better, has nice interior, good curb appeal(unfortunately based on street view much better than the houses around it)....but 475k? Now I don't know that it will sell for every penny of that, but there are too many disadvantages with both it's location and the house itself to pay 475k(over 200 a sq ft) for it.

2) Riverside- was never really a contender in the first place, but just wanted to say I had dinner at kickbacks. Met a couple cool friendly people but the place was a dump. And in a bad area. Oh and the service was horrible. The food? Not the worst I've had, but certainly on the wrong side of average.

3) Ortega- I think I may be leaning towards here more(but still far from sold). Something like this house in particular would be ok maybe:

Berkshire Hathaway HS Florida Network Realty

Larger yard, looks better than it's Avondale comps, as cheap, etc....one downside to buying one of the smaller and cheaper Ortega houses is resale I would think. Families with a kid are likely to stay away because of the schools. I don't give a flip what grade a school gets(because that's based on a lot of meaningless things like improvement...going from atrocious to below average will boost this score), but look at the reduced lunch numbers for the high school....no way parents in Ortega want to send their kid there. Which is fine if you're wealthy and buying a big spread on the river(just pick a good private school), but people buying a 300k house will be stretched thin with that in most cases.

4) San Marco- the houses out of my price range on river road are very nice looking. the rest? not so much. Also, there are a number of shanty looking houses in this area...practically within walking distance of the 7 figure houses on river road. And unlike the shanties in Avondale, these didn't even look well cared for. Now I don't know if this was technically san marco or not(I suspect it was), but it was definitely too close for comfort either way.

5) deerwood and deercreek country club- Interesting, but not really what I am looking for. One of these had houses that were nice but needed updating. Can't remember which one.

6) Jacksonville golf and country club- I liked it here. seemed a bit cheaper than the better clubs in PVB like Marsh Landing and the Plantation, and it's much closer to work as well. Looked at a house that wasn't obscenely big(2600 sq ft I think), all modern, good curb appeal, and was bordering golf course. I think it was like 460k. Same house in the plantation or Marsh Landing would probably be 600.

Right now, leaning towards Ortega I guess after a second look.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:55 PM
 
10,604 posts, read 15,110,304 times
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Anyone who buys a house in FL after 2 visits is nuts - unless you have specific concrete desires. Rent FOR A YEAR.

FLORIDA as a RULE has plenty of weirdness in random good + bad houses/streets close together.

Get used to it. Or move to an HOA. You can go down one perfect street and find another whole one filled with some deferred maintenance or at least a house or two that needs some TLC.

HA shanty. Shanty is a condition not a style. And if nothing else, Jax has a TON of architectural diversity.

How long did you spend ~extensively, about 5 minutes?

You picked a house that's like 6 houses away from Roosevelt. And someone is comparing 200K to 500K???

I lived on HISTORIC St Johns so I KNOW the area. I'm no Jax apologist but what's fair is fair and you're not being fair. There are PLENTY of decent homes near that "shanty".

You either want to live in Avondale for specific reasons like proximity to downtown or the river, or the restaurants, or the families or you don't. All the law firms lunch in Avondale and plenty of the associates/partners live there too. EVEN IN THE "SHANTIES".

I worked on lots of streets around there like Belvedere at Park right down the street from "the shanty" every single day and drove up and down every single street and they are NOT shanties by any means there. There are plenty in different ranges and styles in that neighborhood. I guess you missed this one - it may be a SMALL 3/2 with a smaller yard than the Ortega house but it disproves your entire description in just the landscaping (and charm) alone...and it's not all that unusual:

1467 Belvedere Avenue, Jacksonville FL - Trulia

If you have champagne tastes and a beer pocketbook, then you DO need to shop around lots more. And maybe you're just not suited to living in homes built in the 1920s. It happens. You're not going to find a completly gutted and renovated historic house for $200 K there. WITH extensive landscaping.

Last edited by runswithscissors; 02-09-2014 at 10:07 PM..
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:44 PM
 
206 posts, read 223,536 times
Reputation: 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by runswithscissors View Post
I guess you missed this one - it may be a SMALL 3/2 with a smaller yard than the Ortega house but it disproves your entire description in just the landscaping (and charm) alone...and it's not all that unusual:

1467 Belvedere Avenue, Jacksonville FL - Trulia

If you have champagne tastes and a beer pocketbook, then you DO need to shop around lots more. And maybe you're just not suited to living in homes built in the 1920s. It happens. You're not going to find a completly gutted and renovated historic house for $200 K there. WITH extensive landscaping.
the belvedere house is nicer....but for 330k it has a ton of warts. That kitchen is woefully lacking for one. That's not even a kitchen fit for a 230k house, much less 330k. And while the sellers do have it looking nice to sell(heck I can do that myself with any yard and minor cosmetic outside touches), take a look at the street view and you see the mediocrity of the landscaping and aesthetics of the houses in the vicinity.

my biggest issue with Avondale, until you get to the 550k+ houses one after the other, is that it looks so working class in parts. 10 year old dodges parked on the road(I know I know...parking), grass that is good in some yards and then off color and patchy in other yards.

And there is a wide variance in my budget because I would be ok with paying anywhere from 1200/month after mortgage, insurance, taxes to a bit over 4000/month. So while I certainly can't afford the better houses right on the river in Avondale, at the top of my budget I can certainly afford most of the houses in the neighborhood....and I'm just not impressed. Look at this one:

1402 Edgewood Avenue S, Jacksonville FL - Trulia

Nice yes. Much better kitchen. But for 550k(I suspect they will get south of 500) it's woefully lacking. There isn't a single outstanding feature in the house. And a lot of the neighboring houses on fitch don't appear to be headed in the right direction. It's just not enough house for 550k imo in that spot in that neighborhood.

1852 Talbot Avenue, Jacksonville FL - Trulia

This Talbot avenue house is better imo. But now you are getting into some real money. And it's not like it's on the river or anything(I know you can't get river for that price, but what does it really matter if you are 1 street too many vs 3 from the river)?
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:12 AM
 
206 posts, read 223,536 times
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and my favorite...

1628 Challen Avenue, Jacksonville FL - Trulia

Half a million bucks and three of the houses right across the street from it are subpar at best.

For 500k and 200 dollars a square foot(in jville of all places) I want a polished upper middle class vibe. This house doesn't do that. Then again that's probably why it has been listed unsold forever.
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 18,791,269 times
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Originally Posted by runswithscissors View Post
...All the law firms lunch in Avondale and plenty of the associates/partners live there too. EVEN IN THE "SHANTIES".
We interviewed a new lawyer late last year. His law firm bought an historic building in Riverside and renovated it. He and the other lawyers do indeed lunch in Avondale. OTOH - they mostly seem to live in PVB (and the firm maintains an office in PVB). FWIW - our old lawyer (who's retiring) worked in the Haskell Building - lunched in Avondale - but lives in Atlantic Beach.

And to Tacosman - I second the rental suggestion. And again recommend looking at the new apartments in the Town Center. They seem to be filling up with young professionals and similar. And are providing a good after work bar business for Moxie (which seems to be doing well).

One consideration is I've been hearing increasingly on the business news front that we may be entering a second wave of foreclosures soon. Because effective 1/1/2014 - the tax break regarding forgiveness of mortgage debt when there's a short sale/foreclosure expired:

Mortgage forgiveness tax break needs to be restored — immediately - The Washington Post

I don't know what will happen. Only that things are pretty unsettled now. Note that the greater JAX area was one of the centers of the mortgage foreclosure crisis in the late 2000's - and the issue could arise again.

Also - when you look at those older houses - make sure you inspect them carefully. Many were renovated by people who I can only call "flippers". They put in granite kitchen counters - but left all the old "knob and tube" wiring. You don't want to plug in all your electronic equipment and have the electrical system melt down as a result of overloading . Robyn
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:41 AM
 
10,604 posts, read 15,110,304 times
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Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
We interviewed a new lawyer late last year. His law firm bought an historic building in Riverside and renovated it. He and the other lawyers do indeed lunch in Avondale. OTOH - they mostly seem to live in PVB (and the firm maintains an office in PVB). FWIW - our old lawyer (who's retiring) worked in the Haskell Building - lunched in Avondale - but lives in Atlantic Beach.
LOL this is true. But...small world...I worked for four lawyers who lived in Avondale and two who retired to St John's Ave after renovating their bungalows. And one who lived on the river at the Berkman in the townhouses, and one who lived in The Peninsula, and one who lived in The Strand.

Jax has LOTS of lawyers LOL. Thank goodness for dog walkers - they were my biggest demographic along with doctors and nurses.

My best days were when they had court, especially in the rain. My female clients knew they could call me so they didn't get messed up walking the dog before rushing out of the condo. HA.
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:01 AM
 
10,604 posts, read 15,110,304 times
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Originally Posted by tacosman View Post
and my favorite...

1628 Challen Avenue, Jacksonville FL - Trulia

Half a million bucks and three of the houses right across the street from it are subpar at best.

For 500k and 200 dollars a square foot(in jville of all places) I want a polished upper middle class vibe. This house doesn't do that. Then again that's probably why it has been listed unsold forever.
Well it's just fundamentals that the market will set the price. You are looking for something that is not in your price range.

You're DEFINITELY not cut out for 1920's homes in your perceived price range. What did you want that Belvedere owner to do? Bump out the entire side of the house to extend the kitchen all the way over to the property line?

Dude. There is FINITE square footage to work with.

You're HOUSEHUNTING on "street view"? PROTIP: I worked IN THAT HOUSE. It's looked the same way for years - and been maintained. And the landscaping yes, is an INVESTMENT. The brand new grass, for example is only about 3 years old compared to other properties with old grass and weeds.

What "warts"? There are no warts. And nothing wrong with the neighbors houses.

The fact that you think that landscaping is just a quick fix is telling. If it's so CHEAP and EASY to do - and you don't want to pay for it - then why is it a problem for you to buy a house and do it?

And you better not look at the brand new condos The Peninsula with the exact same galley kitchen sq footage that sold for 750K a couple years ago.

LOl subpar. You must be new to Florida. AND historic areas.

That issue is everywhere in FL (not including the "best blocks" or HOAs). Even in Avondale, where generally the closer you get to the river, the better the statistical odds of nicer homes. NO, you can find dumps on a couple of side streets. And even one or two on St Johns. There's one house where the guy has his front porch completely filled with stuff like you see on hoarders.


1843 Challen Av near the river $925,000


1926 nearby Craftsman Bungalow two blocks from the river $575

OTOH, on say, Richmond St, every house is nice and the worst ones are modest but not beat up LOOKING. BUT when you do your inspection you're in for LOTS of surprises like Robyn55 said (not including the new builds directly on the river).

I lived in a $1 Million priced 1935 circa house there, on a pet sitting job, and when I let the water out of the kitchen sink, the powder room toilet backed up black toxic sewage all over the first floor.

All over FL you can go down a perfectly nice block and run into deferred maintenance and vice versa - find a bad block with a couple great houses.

Which is why NOBODY should move here without doing all the research and renting first. Especially in a place of 850 sq miles. Unless you know EXACTLY what you want and happen to find it.

It's OBVIOUS that if you want to live NEAR a downtown area, you're going to find LOTS of deferred maintenance because those areas do not just attract people with "money" but people without, renters, and people who need the bus or whatever. THAT'S why suburbs happened!

I'm from Philly and our historic areas are vast and plenty and you're talking several million for a great one on a block of perfection. There's no comparison with little Jax/Avondale. And we shouldn't expect it, IMO.

Usually the biggest disappointment for people moving to Florida is that it doesn't match what they thought it was going to be in their imagination.

Last edited by runswithscissors; 02-12-2014 at 07:38 AM..
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:18 AM
 
60 posts, read 90,050 times
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Tacosman,
If you are a single doctor in his 30's, why would you look into buying an old home with 3-4 bedrooms? They might look charming, but they would need a lot of TLC. Wouldn't you be working long hours? And also you don't know if you will stay in this area for a long time.
My husband and I owned an older home (built in 60's) for two years before we had children. We spent the first year renovating and fixing, and the second year trying to sell it. Our to-do list kept getting longer and longer. We were both working, and it was too much work for us. Something to consider...
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:41 AM
 
10,604 posts, read 15,110,304 times
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WAIT.

Your first post here said you're going to rent - and you're renting where you live now?

So this whole discussion is academic.

Gotta love renters.

Dude. Sign a lease at The Peninsula and call it a day.

Last edited by runswithscissors; 02-12-2014 at 07:50 AM..
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:40 AM
 
206 posts, read 223,536 times
Reputation: 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by runswithscissors View Post
WAIT.

Your first post here said you're going to rent - and you're renting where you live now?

So this whole discussion is academic.

Gotta love renters.

Dude. Sign a lease at The Peninsula and call it a day.
I'm still on the fence...if I rent I'd like to rent for just a short period of time. May even do corporate type housing for a bit so I'm not locked in for a year.

And few of the houses(certainly not the one you listed on belvedere) except the big ones right on the river, which I'm not all that interested in, are out of my price range. Hence the wide range of what I can spend. I wouldnt mind spending 600k. I also wouldn't mind spending 200k.
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