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Old 06-27-2020, 11:38 AM
 
1 posts, read 178 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi Everyone! My wife and I are in the process of relocating to Philly, so we thought we would fill this out and get your thoughts. Appreciate your help in advance. We've done a lot of research so far, so please feel free to correct me if you get through the questionnaire and feel like we're off somewhere, but we've kind of narrowed our options down to:


a. (Very) small condo or apartment in Center City or Chinatown or near the Art Museum
b. Small house in Mount Airy or East Falls or Manayunk.
c. Traditional rowhouse somewhere south of Center City.



When are you moving?
Within the next two months.


Where are you coming from?

Las Vegas.

Why are you moving?
To be close to museums, history, culture. To be in a walking city with seasons as opposed to a driving city in the desert. Proximity to NYC, DC, etc. The food. The parks. The Flyers.


Where will you be working?
From home / remotely.

Have you been here yet?
I grew up moving between Delco and NYC. Then I went to Temple. My wife has only been to Philly once, for a week.


Will you buy or rent?
Buy.

If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo? How much can you spend?
Open to either. Up to $325k. HOA Fees obviously add to the monthly cost so if we're in a condo we'd lower the purchase price and expect something like a small 1br / large studio, which we'd be happy with, but we also love traditional rowhouses. Not interested in new construction.


Do you prefer hi-rise or walk up?
Does anyone prefer a walk-up? We'd tolerate a walk-up.

Do you have a preference of living in a NJ or PA suburb?
Yes, my preference is to never do this.

Are you married or single? Do you have children?
Married. No, maybe in the future.


Do you prefer public or private schools?
Public.

Do you have pets?

Cats, we might get a dog later on but it's not a priority.


Do you want or need a yard?
A little outdoor space for some plants and sun would be the bonus of a rowhouse (and others) but we know in a condo or apartment we'll be sacrificing this.

Are you keeping a car?
Depends. In Vegas we needed two, we just sold one. The more densely populated neighborhood we move into, the less likely it is that we'll bother with the hassle of a car.

Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet?
The more bustling the better, the more calm and quiet the more important it is to be close to the regional rail.


What do you want to be closest to?
Trains or subway stations. Fresh food (small markets, farmer's markets. We'd prefer to walk to the market and shop daily, and avoid giant supermarkets if at all possible.)

Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood?
Prefer diverse. We're white, early 30's. My worst nightmare is moving in and having my new neighbor ask me something like, "are you coming to protect Columbus?"

Favorite Beverage - Craft Beer, wine, water?
I need to be within walking distance of a good Scotch list.
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Old 06-27-2020, 02:14 PM
 
117 posts, read 31,208 times
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325 will barely get you a 1-bedroom in Center City, usually with high HOA. I was looking earlier this year and last fall with a higher budget than yours and pickings were very slim and unappealing.

You'd have to go pretty far south Philadelphia to find something. Maybe one of the cheaper flips in Point Breeze. Also check out Brewerytown.

East Falls has options. As does Mount Airy.

Plenty of judgmental hipsters everywhere with the same mindset as you so you won't be alone.

If your budget is really only 325 I'd be looking at Mount Airy and East Falls and learn to embrace the area. Market is our resident expert for Mount Airy (along with Germantown) and hopefully he can offer a few more pointers.
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Old Yesterday, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
7,045 posts, read 3,378,926 times
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I was reading your questionnaire and picturing the two of you in a trinity on some narrow lane in Bella Vista — but I don't think you can even find trinities for <$325k in that neighborhood, though the owner of a really nice renovated trinity with its own front courtyard in Society Hill pitched their house to me for $350k (and I see that the pending offer on it fell through. I'd link to the listing if that didn't violate C-D rules against advertising real estate for sale; look up 609 Lombard St #R, Philadelphia, PA 19147 to see it).

So if you can live without a box spring under your mattress (you won't be able to get the thing up the tight spiral staircase; I'd suggest picking a slat-frame bed up at Ikea and assembling it in your bedroom), then you might want to see whether there are any trinities for sale in your price range.

(For your wife's benefit: The "trinity" is a uniquely Philadelphian house type: the original "tiny house" and the "workforce housing" of the mid- to late 19th century. They get their name because they consist of three rooms (plus a bathroom) stacked one atop the other, connected by a very tight spiral staircase. (Kitchens are located either in the basement or in an ell attached to the back of the first floor. "Expanded" or "extended" trinities have larger kitchens on the back of the first floor plus additional rooms on each upper floor, the result of an addition built on the back of the house.)

But if you want more room, then yes, you will want to look in one of the outlying neighborhoods. I can't vouch for the Scotch selections at the restaurants I've dined out at in Mt. Airy, but I can vouch for the quality of their craft beer selections, especially at Earth / Bread+ Brewery, the neighborhood's beloved craft brewpub. I will, however, wager you can get decent Scotch at McMenamin's Pub, the most popular watering hole in the Mt. Airy business district and a gathering place for everyone in this integrated-and-we-want-to-keep-it-that-way, thankyouverymuch neighborhood.

Mt. Airy also checks off most of your other boxes. The neighborhood prizes its reputation for racial integration dating back to the 1950s, when local residents and real estate agents decided they would take a stand against blockbusting, panic selling and white flight and welcome the Blacks who were beginning to move into the community. (That didn't happen in just-down-the-road Germantown, but the funny thing there was, not all the whites fled, and some new ones of a more countercultural bent moved in to replace some of those who did.) Its business district has a diverse collection of local shops and eateries, there's convenient Regional Rail service to Center City from either side of the neighborhood, and it has two community art centers (Allens Lane Art Center in West Mt. Airy and the Mt. Airy Art Garage right on Germantown Avenue).

West Mt. Airy is a little pricier than East Mt. Airy, and most of the neighborhood's poorer residents live in East Mt. Airy's southern half. But you will find many well-kept middle-middle-class blocks with affordably priced housing in southern EMA if you don't have any hangups about status contamination. Most of your neighbors in that part of the neighborhood will be Black.

And if you like live jazz or want something a little ritzier in the way of dining and shopping, just up the hill from Mt. Airy is Chestnut Hill, the city's most elevated neighborhood (literally; the highest point in the city is just past the Route 23 bus loop at the upper end of the Chestnut Hill business district. But it's also the city's second-wealthiest neighborhood after Society Hill, and it promotes itself as a shopping and dining destination for all of Northwest Philadelphia. You can consider it an added bonus for settling in Mt. Airy.)

Edited to add: And you might want to consider looking in Germantown's northwest quarter or on its west side as well. There's a lot of renovation taking place in the neighborhood thanks to Jumpstart, and there are usually a number of recently renovated houses on the market for under $300k. Crime is more of a worry in Germantown than in Mt. Airy, and the main shopping street not as appealing, but the neighborhood is on the mend and everyone who lives in it loves it. It's also the second-most-historic neighborhood in the city after the Historic Square Mile straddling Old City and Society Hill itself. Not to mention that it's home to the coolest coffee shop in the city, Uncle Bobbie's Coffee and Books (5445 Germantown Avenue, at Market Square), owned and run by prominent African-American intellectual Marc Lamont Hill.

However, I wouldn't call the vibe in either of these neighborhoods "hipsterish." You'll find the hipsters in Fishtown. It's a somewhat more mature crowd that lives in Mt. Airy, and Germantown is heavily African-American.

Last edited by MarketStEl; Yesterday at 06:39 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 12:38 PM
 
117 posts, read 31,208 times
Reputation: 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
I was reading your questionnaire and picturing the two of you in a trinity on some narrow lane in Bella Vista
I call them the unholy trinities.

They are very much an acquired flavor. Better suited as AirBnB pads. Fun for a few days but the novelty surely wears off quickly.
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Old Yesterday, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
7,045 posts, read 3,378,926 times
Reputation: 4494
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXBtoFL View Post
I call them the unholy trinities.

They are very much an acquired flavor. Better suited as AirBnB pads. Fun for a few days but the novelty surely wears off quickly.
I agree that they're an acquired taste, and every non-single owner of one eventually outgrows it — it usually happens the moment the first child is on the way.

But it seems to me that a lot of young couples starting out on their journey of homeownership find them palatable for those first few years. Especially the expanded ones, but even the original flavor. And they do still represent an affordable housing option in a number of highly sought-after neighborhoods (like that $350k Society Hill trinity).

My advice to someone moving here is not to rule them out at the start but check them out and see if you'd feel comfortable living in one.
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Old Yesterday, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia Pa
805 posts, read 505,026 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DXBtoFL View Post
I call them the unholy trinities.

They are very much an acquired flavor. Better suited as AirBnB pads. Fun for a few days but the novelty surely wears off quickly.
I have a great trinity. Bigger than most, but almost nothing in bills and crazy rentable. I've made a lot off money of that little place.
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Old Yesterday, 02:25 PM
 
8 posts, read 6,809 times
Reputation: 25
I'm relocating to Philadelphia and am under contract for a Trinity. I specifically sought out this style home to avoid condo fees and be walkable to city amenities. You can most definitely find trinities in your budget in Queen Village, Bella Vista, Passyunk Square and Fitler Square. I should know since I combed these areas and know of trinities still for sale. If you're looking for a one or two bedroom, you'll be good with that budget. Good luck!

P.S. Very good to hear from a trinity owner on low bills and rentability. Definitely perks I considered as well.
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Old Today, 12:39 PM
 
23 posts, read 24,081 times
Reputation: 30
Check out some of the high-rises near the Art Museum along Pennsylvania Ave, Hamilton Ave, and BF Parkway. There are studio and some 1BR condos in your price range. 2601 Pennsylvania, the Philadelphian (these are pricier), Cityview, couple others I can't remember the name of.
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