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Old 05-28-2008, 03:21 AM
 
2 posts, read 9,598 times
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I'm a male in my early 30's who is relocating to the Milwaukee area. I will be working on the Upper East Side. I am looking for a 2-3 bedroom house with approx 1000-1500Sqft. My budget is approx 130-160k. A basement and a decent but not huge size yard (say 50*75) are definite requirements whilst brick/stone construction and a fenced yard would be nice. I'm primarily looking at inner suburbs, somewhere quiet, but with some bars, restaurants, etc. I probably won't be buying until the late Fall/Spring, but am in Milwaukee next week and will be checking out a few areas. Chatting with a few people and reading some of the threads on this board I've come up with a list of the following neighborhoods:

Glendale (probably can only afford the SW subdivisions)
Bayview/St Francis (Bayview near lake is too expensive)
Far West Side (between Tosa and I94)
Enderis Park/Cooper Park

I'm leaning towards the Bayview/St. Francis area, as this area seems to be on the up and I can see more price appreciation in this area than the others, but any fans of other areas, mentioned or not mentioned, are welcome to try and change my mind. I'd be particually interested to hear views on the neighborhoods bordering Tosa, as these have been less mentioned on the boards than Glendale/Bayview etc.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
3,198 posts, read 12,722,661 times
Reputation: 2242
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penfold123 View Post
I'm a male in my early 30's who is relocating to the Milwaukee area. I will be working on the Upper East Side. I am looking for a 2-3 bedroom house with approx 1000-1500Sqft. My budget is approx 130-160k. A basement and a decent but not huge size yard (say 50*75) are definite requirements whilst brick/stone construction and a fenced yard would be nice. I'm primarily looking at inner suburbs, somewhere quiet, but with some bars, restaurants, etc. I probably won't be buying until the late Fall/Spring, but am in Milwaukee next week and will be checking out a few areas. Chatting with a few people and reading some of the threads on this board I've come up with a list of the following neighborhoods:

Glendale (probably can only afford the SW subdivisions)
Bayview/St Francis (Bayview near lake is too expensive)
Far West Side (between Tosa and I94)
Enderis Park/Cooper Park

I'm leaning towards the Bayview/St. Francis area, as this area seems to be on the up and I can see more price appreciation in this area than the others, but any fans of other areas, mentioned or not mentioned, are welcome to try and change my mind. I'd be particually interested to hear views on the neighborhoods bordering Tosa, as these have been less mentioned on the boards than Glendale/Bayview etc.

Thanks in advance for your help.
Good Lord, Penfold, for someone coming to the city and without much history with the city - considering you life situation and housing needs - I think you should be commended thoroughly for such good research!!

I am serious, it is incredible, for your life situation and housing needs, you probably just hit on many of the key areas that you should be looking at. I can tell you have done some great homework.

Anyway, I am a male also in my young 30s (although married / family), so I can confirm that I think you are right-on with your ideas, places to look, etc., I have lived in the metro for much of my life from youth on and recently re-relocated back into the metro (July of last year), so hopefully I can offer a smidgen of perspective.

I think housing-wise, with your budget, you are definitely doable in the areas you are keying in on with the logistics you are asking for. As much as the "housing crises" gets some really bad press currently, it will help a person like you (similar to me) with a housing budget of not being able to afford a $250K home.

One tip I can give you (that I am sure that you already are well aware but really this is the case here in metro Milwaukee: If your budget is $130K to $160K, look at houses listed up to perhaps the $175K list price. The housing bubble didn't inflate as much in Milwaukee metro and thus hasn't bottomed out / burst as much price-wise, but what has hit this area is an absolute huge glut of houses - a big inventory - that sit for months on end without moving. Thus, you'll find many sellers often who are definitely willing to do business, even if on a greatly reduced basis.

The house I purchased in an inner ring suburb (Greendale) was basically $12K lower than the seller's asking price - and overall, my purchase price was between $25K to $30K lower than what those same sellers had purchased the home for only a few years earlier (had to move due to job transfer). The moral of my story being that "on paper", this house was out of our budget range. However, because the market here is what it is, we were able to successfully pursue it.

Having said all of this - here are my thoughts:

Glendale (probably can only afford the SW subdivisions):

I love Glendale. Great community. I often hear it described as Whitefish Bay-esque (a very desirable suburb of Milwaukee) without the WFB pricetag.

I looked at homes extensively in Glendale and almost bought there. My only "warning" is that a very small select area of Glendale (SOUTH OF Hampton that is far west) to me - and to me only - is kind of cruddy. No, not the worst neighborhood in the world, but I wouldn't want to buy a house there.

However, I think as long as you stay north of Hampton, even on the far western edges that some deem as being too close to sketchier border areas of Milwaukee, I think are very nice and doable. Sure those western edges are a bit more urban, as long as you use some common sense (lock your doors, throw on a porch light, etc.) I think they are perfectly safe, comfortable, nice neighborhoods.

Bayview/St Francis (Bayview near lake is too expensive):

My wife and I looked strongly at St. Francis. Nice community, as you say, on the up-and-up, very near the lake. We found a great house in St. Francis, but we didn't buy there ultimately because overall, we found the community just a hare "older" than we preferred. Lots of folks in their 40s, 50s, and 60s...not of course that there is anything *wrong* with that, and sure, of course there are also plenty of younger folks and families, but overall, St. Francis just still has a more aged populace. St. Francis still overall is kind of a "West Allis East" of sorts...a blue collar, working class people in their 40s through 60s type of community.

My wife and I (foolishly) didn't really look at Bayview. Great area, very up-and-coming. Cool homes and architecture. A "real" area of the city though still too. It is probably a bit more urban than many of the areas you are considering, being a part of the city of Milwaukee, so it isn't "suburban" as you stated you liked, but it is a fairly safe area, good for younger people, etc. I really endorse the Bayview area.

Far West Side (between Tosa and I94):

This is a nice area too. My wife and I found a house here (near, oh, say 55th and south of Bluemound) - we would've bought here too...very nice neighborhoods, quite safe, etc., - but it was too close to I-94 for our tastes (too loud, would make resale tougher, etc.). But if you can find something enough away from I-94, I certainly would endorse this idea.

Enderis Park/Cooper Park

Cooper Park area would be to me kind of a somewhat hidden gem of an area in Milwaukee, another example of a part of the city of Milwaukee itself that often gets overlooked. People often erroneously think that Milwaukee is only safe/nice - on the East Side, Downtown / Third Ward, and Bayview, and the rest of the city is crime ridden leaving them to either live in one of the aforementioned areas or the suburbs. This just simply isn't true.

Honestly, while my wife and I are happy in Greendale, I wish we would've more considered areas like Cooper Park. You could probably find some of your best values here (compared to, say, Glendale), and you get nice central access, and your are in solid, nice middle class neighborhoods (near the parkway, near Mount Mary College, etc.).

Indeed, I would look at the Cooper Park area.

As for Enderis Park, let me just say the thought intrigues me. I grew up in the 70s through early 90s near the area - around 68th and Silver Spring - and worked in the 7000s of Capitol Drive for quite some time in the mid-90s, also very near the Enderis Park area.

Now seeing the area and surrounding areas, my first instinct would be "no, stay away from the area, too many shaky neighborhoods, too much crime potential", etc. This is probably what I REALLY would have told you when we first just returned here last summer.

However, now I am not so sure. I would say that of all the communities on your list, this is the one that would require the most due diligence, care in checking out the area / neighborhood, neighbors, etc. Some of this area can be sketchier. It is very urban for sure, with the potential for urban-related problems.

However, you know what? It has some beautiful homes, neighborhoods, and areas too. I think in Enderis Park you'd just want to really be picky and choosy and do some due diligence, but I don't think it would be a crazy idea to at least consider either. My brother-in-law and his wife (in their mid 20s) live in the very nearby Lenox Heights neighborhood, and while it sometimes is a hare sketchier than they ideally would like, overall it is a very nice, hard working, middle class, diverse urban neighborhood.

Here is a good article on the Cooper Park area:

JS Online: (http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=219458 - broken link)

Here is a good article on the Enderis Park area:

(Key excerpt: "Many people also think the neighborhood -- bounded by Lisbon Avenue on the north, Center Street on the south, 76th Street on the west and 63rd Street on the east -- is a dangerous one.

What they don't realize is other than the difference in the color of the street signs, it's hard to distinguish Enderis Park from its southern and western neighbor, Wauwatosa.
)

OnMilwaukee.com Travel & Visitors Guide: Enderis Park area is among the citys best-kept secrets

A few other communities you may wish to consider that I feel have some really nice parts, and could hit your targeted housing budget:

-Brown Deer
-Greendale
-homes in the 53224 zip code (Milwaukee)

Good luck to you!! I hope this helped you. If you would like any more information or clarification, etc., please do not hesitate to ask!
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Old 05-29-2008, 04:35 AM
 
2 posts, read 9,598 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for the very detailed summary. I agree, there are some gorgeous houses in the Enderis Park area. I'll probably spend a day in the area checking it out. One of the reasons I'm leaning towards Glendale or Bayview/St Francis is that I will be very much in a work hard/play hard situation. I may well work until the early hours of the morning throughout the week and may want to hit the East Side or Bayview at the weekends to relax. I don't think that driving back along Capitol/Center in the early hours is such a good idea. If I lived in Enderis park, then I'd probably have to take the I94 around. As you said, there seems to be plenty of housing stock available. And given that I'm not restricting myself to a single area, I can afford to be picky and negotiate on price.

Thanks again for the help.
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
3,198 posts, read 12,722,661 times
Reputation: 2242
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penfold123 View Post
One of the reasons I'm leaning towards Glendale or Bayview/St Francis is that I will be very much in a work hard/play hard situation. I may well work until the early hours of the morning throughout the week and may want to hit the East Side or Bayview at the weekends to relax.
Ah yes, fully understood. Then absolutely, your logic / reasoning to key in on Glendale or Bayview/St. Francis makes perfect sense. Probably given that info, if you can find a nice home in one of these communities, you'd be best off sticking there.

Even that area on the far west side between I-94 and Bluemound would require a bit more of a drive, although there, you do have some bars near Miller Park and also, for the summer, Miller Park...but definitely not the cool nightlife that the East Side / Bayview offers.

I would just still say - and it is just me - I would heartily HEARTILY opt for a fellow in your situation for Bayview and/or Glendale over St. Francis...I think you'd be much better situated in either of the former communities.
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