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Old 01-15-2013, 01:24 PM
 
Location: New Orleans
151 posts, read 259,060 times
Reputation: 110

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Circumstances mean that this is the last year we have to currently live in our place in Metairie. That means it's time to look for a house or a condo. We are both finally working full time, and it seems likely that we will qualify for a mortgage around $250,000 as long as we can get FHA (we've never owned a place before) help.

I looked at renting places, and frankly places that I would consider safe are shockingly high in rent. Buying a place, even in the better areas would be less than the cost for rent. The lower rent places are places that I know have high crime so I don't want to live there. Plus the other issues with having an apartment.

So a house or condo it is.

With a house, it looks to be a little higher for a mortgage, but it could be great for our credit. We'd have complete control over the house. And it's possible problems since I doubt we'd be able to buy a new house, and even if we did it would be rather far outside the city. It would also mean yard work, which both my husband and I hate with a passion due to the weather, and I'm not sure we could afford someone to do it for us.

With a condo, it would eliminate the yard work, and it seems it would be cheaper even with the condo fees. We would also inherit all the previous problems with the condo since it's highly doubtful it would be new. Then there's the possible problems with neighbors attached to us and with insane management that doesn't do what they promise (though it's possible to get good management too). There's also the possibility of higher security since some places include burglar alarms, but lower security due to the sheer number of people coming in and out of the area.

With a condo, we could have a secure entrance and a locked garage, whereas the only way we'd get either of those with a house is if we have a garage (a rarity) and install our own security system and pay monthly fees to keep it up.

Which one would you choose?

But that's not all, the question then becomes where. I would like it to be as safe as possible, but those places (like the Garden Disctrict and Uptown) are also more expensive and I'm not sure we could afford those.

It would be nice to keep mortage costs under $1000. If it's possible, it would be great to have that $1000 include utilities.

Places to avoid... Gentilly, 9th Ward and any place in a massive flood area like Plaquemines.
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Metairie, LA
1,087 posts, read 2,001,823 times
Reputation: 1448
Are you looking at staying in Metairie or move to the city? In the nicer parts of New Orleans it can be cheaper to rent. $1000/month including utilities? HaHa! On a $250k house, you'll be paying almost $2k a month depending on what you put down and what your insurance situation is and that's not including sanitation and utilities which will run you at least $300. You can rent a nice 2br for less.

I've owned 2 houses because I like to have a little yard for my dog, but if if wasn't for her, I'd be in a condo. House maintainence and yard work SUCKS. Useless land that I will never use. I would be renting if my house wasn't a duplex and I wasn't getting rental income.

Where will you be working? Do you want something walkable with transit access?

Why would you avoid Gentilly? It's not any more flood prone than Metairie and there are some nice areas. It also can be MUCH cheaper than other neighborhoods. $250k will get you a good size 3br house if that's what you're looking for. Look between Robert E. Lee and the lake or on the East Side of City Park close to Holy Cross School.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Bywater
45 posts, read 151,660 times
Reputation: 42
A $250k mortgage is going to be closer to $2,500 a month if you count in insurance and taxes!
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:00 PM
 
Location: New Orleans
151 posts, read 259,060 times
Reputation: 110
With the rates as they are, I think we can keep the mortgage lower than that, and use any excess to fix any problems we find (and if we can, not spend it). With rates and foreclosures being what they are, we can probably manage between $150k and $200k, maybe less.

We are working just outside the Garden District on St Charles. Two blocks from where we work on either side isn't the greatest location. Plus, we don't want to be too close too work, if you know what I mean. They will think they can call us in at all hours, where they're a bit more reluctant to do that right now even though we have a car.

Actually, the mortgage I've been looking at, even if it were worth $250k, is less than $1200 a month. Since it would likely be FHA, it helps alot.

I would like to stay in Metairie since I really like the city and it's outside New Orleans. Kenner is a little too far for us with rush hour.

Gentilly is out because the hubby doesn't want to live there.

We do want 2 full bathrooms, the number of bedrooms isn't as important though two would be great. Really wish we could afford the Garden District. It's such an incredibly beautiful area, but it's way out of our price range.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:34 PM
 
Location: Metairie, LA
1,087 posts, read 2,001,823 times
Reputation: 1448
The Garden District is very different from anything in Metairie. I can't see cross shopping between the two. That's like saying "I want go buy a car and I have it narrowed down between a Fiat and a cargo van."

There are lots of nice areas within <5 miles of your work if you want to be in the city. Broadmoor, Fontainbleau, Black Pearl, Uptown between Tulane U/Audubon Park and Napolean, Mid-City near City Park Ave, Lower Garden District(don't confuse the two) and the Warehouse District are all safe areas that you should be able to find a condo if not a house that fits your needs. The Garden District has it's own private security which helps, but the problem is that it's right next to a not so nice area on the lake side of St. Charles, so crime can be higher.

The P&I might be $1200/month on a $250k mortgage, but insurance, HOA fees, taxes and probably PMI will make that payment more like $1800/month.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:23 AM
 
Location: New Orleans
151 posts, read 259,060 times
Reputation: 110
rburnett, thank you so much. That was exactly what I needed. I will let my husband know.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:04 PM
 
Location: In the city
1,581 posts, read 3,407,732 times
Reputation: 2358
Advice I got from my realtor mom:

1. Many banks want you to have 20% down for a condo loan because the market is so volatile. Locally, only Fidelity seems to waive this requirement. 20% of 250K is 50K. Know that you may need to have that up front or not get financing.

2. Condos are not seen as a "safe" investment like a SFH (though these days, that ain't so safe either). The market can fluctuate wildly. Look at comparables in the last 3-6 mos as opposed to the last 12 (which is what you would look at for a SFH).

3. HOA fees are often based on square footage, so the bigger the condo, the more you will likely pay.

4. Any mortgage is NOT going to actually be what those handy calculators tell you. If it says 1200 per month, you can SAFELY add another 50% onto that once you figure in taxes, fees, insurance and utils. For your monthly estimate, you should really expect to add a full third to half of your payment to really figure your expenses.

5. From what I can tell, you can get a condo for 250K in most neighborhoods in the city. Whether it has your 2BR/2BA requirement will really depend on where you want to live. As for a house, you are looking at an "up and coming" area for $250K. Most of the places I have seen which are renovated are more like $300-$400K in neighborhoods like the Irish Channel, Lower Garden District, Mid City. If you want a fixer upper, you can find a lot more variety, but remember that you will also be taking out a loan to make repairs.
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:46 PM
 
Location: New Orleans
151 posts, read 259,060 times
Reputation: 110
Gah, it's so expensive here to rent or buy. Unbelievably so. It's just really strange they charge so much when this city is so poor.

What are considered the up and coming areas?
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:20 PM
 
Location: In the city
1,581 posts, read 3,407,732 times
Reputation: 2358
Quote:
Originally Posted by moiraesfate View Post
Gah, it's so expensive here to rent or buy. Unbelievably so. It's just really strange they charge so much when this city is so poor.

What are considered the up and coming areas?

I don't think its quite as poor as people believe. Its been the fastest growing city in the country for 3 years. Yes, there is a great deal of poverty, but I make as much here as I did in DC and I paid $2800 to rent a 2BR 2BA condo there. Its all relative. The cost of living is still lower than the national average, but if you don't want to invest in a developing neighborhood, you will pay more than what you might expect. You will always get more house for your money outside of the city. If you can deal with a more suburban lifestyle, it might be worth looking at.

"Up and coming"? Irish Channel, definitely-- as I said on my other thread every realtor I spoke to tried to foist that area on me. Mid City, some of Bayou St John on the end near Orleans (not Fauborg St John-- that is already pretty well gentrified), Bywater, especially right around St Claude would be my guesses. I am sure that others can add.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:31 PM
 
Location: In the city
1,581 posts, read 3,407,732 times
Reputation: 2358
I would check out one of the search sites like Trulia or Movoto, and go to a few open houses in your price range before I made a decision. It may be helpful to define what you will and won't compromise on (such as living in Gentilly!) and see if its realistic. Space is the number one thing to consider cutting back on. Coming from crowded big urban centers like DC, SF, and Chicago, it amazes me that people here think they need 3brs as a single person or couple. 900 square feet seems big to me and that gives me a lot of options in my price range. Remember too, that an extra bath can always be put in and usually not that expensively.

Your landlord sounds like a crazy lady! It might be a good interim step to move to a planned apartment community, managed by a real management company and get some better service. I have a few friends that live at the American Can building in Bayou St John and really like it. Usually, if a management company takes care of repairs, you are better off than a private home owner (but not always).
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