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Old 05-20-2009, 06:58 PM
1 posts, read 9,528 times
Reputation: 10


After reading real estate ads for Porter County for nearly a year, I noticed that homes in South Haven take a long time to sell and are offered at very low prices. I haven't lived in NW Indiana since the 70's, so I don't know the current conditions. South Haven prices sure are attractive but much lower than surrounding areas. How come?
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:50 PM
Location: Fishers, IN
6,485 posts, read 12,535,852 times
Reputation: 4126
Speaking as someone who's only driven through the area, South Haven just seems like a not-so-hot little burg. Definitely a step down from Portage, Chesterton and Valpo.
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:12 PM
4,410 posts, read 6,138,513 times
Reputation: 2908
South Haven has the distinction of having the one of the highest median family incomes for the lowest educational attainment. I will insult someone when I say that the common perception of this place is that it is trailer trash. Crime is rather high and houses are average at best. No rich or poor sections, because it's all poor. There is no real town there, either. It's just a bunch of houses with a couple of businesses. It is not a crossroads to anything and if you aren't paying attention, you will miss it. Or point and laugh, or roll up the windows quickly, take your pick.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:45 AM
Location: Hoosierville
17,424 posts, read 14,642,907 times
Reputation: 11623
Though it has a Valpo address, it doesn't have the benefit of Valpo schools.

That alone brings in housing value down.

(Though there are other reasons that the previous poster mentioned.)
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:51 AM
Location: Des Moines, IA.
7 posts, read 44,346 times
Reputation: 17
When I was still living in Indiana (about 4 years ago). I was looking to upgrade to another house. One place that I looked which was well within my price range was South Haven. The house seemed OK from the outside. The realtor was unable to get in the house for me to look around.
I told a co-worker about the house and was told the following:
"You may want to have a look elsewhere. South Haven is not as forward thinking as the rest of the region". The co-worker went on to mention some of the less appealing things about the area, which I've long since forgotten. But this quote has stuck with me as if I just heard it this morning. I ended up buying a house in Portage and was very happy there until I moved.
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:24 PM
Location: the Great Lakes states
801 posts, read 2,566,356 times
Reputation: 557
Everything here is pretty accurate.

The whole subdivision was built by a local developer/speculator in the mid-1960's who really only had a profit motive. The homes are for the most part structurally sound and built with fairly good construction, but there are other problems.

Most of the ground itself is rather muddy (clay soil.) Most of the houses are built on a crawl space, without great planning for drainage, and many of them will have heavy seepage in the crawl during heavy rains. If you buy in South Haven, look for a house where someone has paved or improved the crawl or basement, and installed a good sump pump. Keeping a nice yard is a challenge, and people have been known to truck in sand to build the soil so that grass/sod can grow more easily. If you have a dog who digs, your dog will come in with very muddy paws pretty often.

The houses can be absolute gems on the inside, though... I've seen some South Haven homes with hardwood floors, remodeled kitchens/baths, and thoroughly updated interiors. Some of those were gradual remodels/improvements by people who lived there for years... and others were remodels done by real estate speculators for investment purposes.

It seems like the original homebuyers did their best to establish a healthy community at first... you see a lot of basketball hoops on the driveways, and basic organizations (church, baseball league, American Legion post) but after the initial building boom of the 1960's, no one invested or built anything more.

Its Education and point-of-view that really make the difference though. If you're looking for an upper middle-class environment, this is not it.

There's no organizations that bond the community together, except maybe the Catholic parish. There is a park with community sports -- but its little league and adult softball only. So, that's kind of a throwback to the '50s or '60s -- no soccer, tennis, anything like that. The festivals in town give off the same kind of feel. As do the stores along Route 6. Very blue-collar, 1950s-ish way of living.

There is a Boys & Girls Club that serves the community's kids and teens, and they run a tight ship. The library branch on County Road 700N is only about ten years old, and IS a very nice facility. It may be one of the best libraries in the county. Its about the only amenity that the county has invested in, though. There's not much else for kids to do in this area that they can walk or bike to. Also keep in mind there's no sidewalks, so walking the dog means walking in the street. Any other sports, recreation, or shopping mostly means driving 15 minutes to Valpo, Portage, or Chesterton.

The elementary schools are probably equal to elementaries in the rest of the region. Its not going to be especially challenging. Depending on what part of South Haven you live in, you'll be served by Wheeler's school district, or Portage. Most of the area is served by Portage schools. That means middle and high school in Portage. I don't know about their middle schools, but I know that their high school is probably something to avoid. Its an old building, huge student population, and instead of a full renovation or building a second high school, they added on and added on and added on to their existing building so the whole place is very hard to navigate and they've completely lost any type of personal touch due to the size of the school.

South Haven is unincorporated, and you'll be relying on county police and services. The whole county is decently safe, but you could have at least a few bad neighbors on each block. Meaning, you'll see squad cars in front of their house fairly often. Domestic disputes, drug habits, petty crime. Occasionally something more major.

Another problem is pollution. I was never able to figure out if it was coming from the Asphalt Plant (just north of 6 on Juniper Road) or from the Burns Harbor steel mills, but at least once a week there would be a wind coming from the north and it smelled like fumes. You do get some fog in that area, and on nights when it was foggy the odor would just sit there. Those were nights to close the windows and run the A/C because that smell would come in the house.

Summary: You can get a fairly well built, cheap house, and basic services, and most likely you won't have to worry about safety. (Taxes were only a few hundred dollars a year.) But you really lose out on a lot of quality of life.
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Old 12-27-2009, 10:06 PM
1 posts, read 8,728 times
Reputation: 19
I read this all before moving to South Haven about 2 months ago. Glad I didn't listen to any of these posts.

Mhouse2001, You do insult people when you talk trash. You already know that though. Have you ever REALLY even been here???? Please, there is a whole lot worse! Look up a different town to write garbage about. You do not feel at all threatened in this community. Check out the statistics, the schools here are NOT as bad as all of you are stating! I give credit to Summer22 lots of info in that post. "Very blue-collar, 1950s-ish way of living." that is EXACTLLY what I was looking for! South Haven is it, a great little place for people who want to raise a family with heart & values in a small, quiet community...but still have all the conveniences of a large city from the surrounding towns. Beleive it or not there are people out there searching for places like this.

I've raised my family in a very ethniclly mixed community. I had a problem when my children came home to me speeking ebonics & spanish in our home. I moved here & I love it. It's still an ethnically mixed community but the people here have scence. I have a large mall, plenty of entertainment, grocery stores, Church's, Library, Parks, Beach, post office, resturants & more...everything I need right here within 20 mins. It still feels like an original neighborhood. It isn't being turned into a ghetto. It's staying just as it was 20...30 years ago. The community can use a little more TLC but if all we do is sit around & complain nothing will get done. Lend a hand & this place could be dusted of & the true gem it is will shine right thru! The schools here are perfect. Everyone's looking for a place to send their kids that will do all the work for them these days. I'll just say good luck with that! The teachers here communicate with parents well, the school has a terrific interactive system for parents to view test, & homework scores, attendance, fee's owed & more. I feel the school spends their money properly. Sure there is a trailor or mobile home park....and? There are older residents & some younger families who don't have the finances to own or rent a single family home. It's nice that they all have a place to call their own & they do contibute to the community. While there could be more businesses along rt.6, the ones that are there are great. Nice, friendly people. Buisnesses I don't mind giving my hard earned money to. There are also plenty of places to voulenteer. I haven't been happier in life. I'm loving South Haven & it's originalness. Plus, this house is great...I can actually afford a beautiful home & have money to live on. If you're interested in South Haven, go...give it a chance. Take a day or 2 out of your week & go visit the parks, drive around & check out the area. Valpo, Portage, & Merrillville all contribute perfectly to this place. Look at it as a whole & this is a really decent place for raising kids with values. There is a lot that the surrounding areas provide to South Haven to help keep it as it is. Small, Quiet, Freindly, Affordable, Old Fashioned. Just the way I like it!

Last edited by gbiffle16racegrl; 12-27-2009 at 10:29 PM..
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:35 AM
1 posts, read 8,029 times
Reputation: 14
thank you! its nice to hear someone say kind words about southhaven. its a great place to raise a family. im happy here . may be the people who think its such a horrible place to live should come and take another look .
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:53 PM
Location: Valparaiso, IN
63 posts, read 196,253 times
Reputation: 35
I sell a lot of starter homes in South Haven. Are there areas where people do not keep their yard up? You bet! But I have seen that in a lot of neighborhoods. There are also different sections to South Haven there is New South Haven and Old South Haven. A lot of the houses have been redone and remodeled inside and out. The best part of South Haven is the price way cheaper than rent. Drive up and down the streets and you can tell which parts of the neighborhood are the most desirable acadia is a great street and there are many others in there. They just started last summer installing all new sidewalks. Funny part of South Haven 5 years ago the homes went for around 100,000 and they still do so one area is holding their own values! I think once the new hospital goes in that area will once again pick up for the blue collar workers.
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Old 08-16-2010, 12:25 AM
2 posts, read 10,838 times
Reputation: 13
Hello, I currently live in South Haven, and honestly the prices are so low because of the quality of the area and the people who live here. It is not everyone, we lucked out our neighbors are great, but there are a lot of crimes that go on in this area and they continue to grow each year it seems. I have lived here for ten years, at home with my parents, and when I move out soon I do not plan to even look here. As far as the comment posted about Acadia being a great street... well that is not completely true. There are a bunch of houses for sale currently on that road and they are nice but most people complain because of the sewer plant. The plant is located at the end of the road, and in the summer the smell is sometimes overwhelming. By all means, I am not trying to stop you from moving here the prices are great, but make sure you meet the neighbors and ask them for their honesty.
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