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Old 03-03-2012, 07:47 AM
 
16 posts, read 32,031 times
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Looking for suggestions for neighborhoods to buy in the Phoenix metro. We currently live in Albuquerque, want to move closer to our original home state of California (we're both from Pasadena), so that we can drive over and visit. We're creative types, as well as DIYers, so our goal is to find the most townhome/patio home for the least amount of money. Our budget will be 50K cash. Don't want mortgage payments. We are self-employed so I doubt we could qualify for a loan anyway.

I realize 50K doesn't get you much, but we're figuring on buying a townhome that can eventually be kept as a rental.

Older rentals on the outskirts of ABQ in the lower range of $800/mo. are often quite primitive, no real kitchen, just a sink and a cupboard with something weird like the water heater standing out in the open right next to the sink. Newer homes are available in the $1000 range in Rio Rancho, but it's not for us.

Online, I saw townhomes with complete kitchens for 50K in Dobson Ranch and East Mesa, Glendale, North Central PHX, a few in Chandler and Tempe. I even found a couple of liveable looking fixers in Scottsdale for that price. All of it looked very suburban, true, and reminded me of the Valley (San Fernando) in the 80s. We don't mind that as long as the complexes have a bit of foliage around them.

Where we are now, in Nob Hill near UNM, it's funky, which we like, with a stretch of Central Ave that's reminiscent of Melrose in L.A. The area is considered upscale. Whole Foods, which we also like, is a mile and a half away, and rents are $1200 to $1400/mo. Ours is a 1000 sq ft 1950s house with a kitchen about the size of a bathroom, old cabinets that don't even close, and the original very worn linoleum. We're tired of paying that much every month for a house we can't fix-up, and we'd love to be saving more anyway. To buy in our current area would be about $250K to $400K for a house and mean a mortgage. ABQ has very few townhomes and they're almost the same price as the houses.

BTW, you can't find anything in ABQ even close to $50K in price that isn't in gang territory.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
19,437 posts, read 27,838,210 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvGreenChile View Post
Looking for suggestions for neighborhoods to buy in the Phoenix metro. We currently live in Albuquerque, want to move closer to our original home state of California (we're both from Pasadena), so that we can drive over and visit. We're creative types, as well as DIYers, so our goal is to find the most townhome/patio home for the least amount of money. Our budget will be 50K cash. Don't want mortgage payments. We are self-employed so I doubt we could qualify for a loan anyway.

I realize 50K doesn't get you much, but we're figuring on buying a townhome that can eventually be kept as a rental.

Older rentals on the outskirts of ABQ in the lower range of $800/mo. are often quite primitive, no real kitchen, just a sink and a cupboard with something weird like the water heater standing out in the open right next to the sink. Newer homes are available in the $1000 range in Rio Rancho, but it's not for us.

Online, I saw townhomes with complete kitchens for 50K in Dobson Ranch and East Mesa, Glendale, North Central PHX, a few in Chandler and Tempe. I even found a couple of liveable looking fixers in Scottsdale for that price. All of it looked very suburban, true, and reminded me of the Valley (San Fernando) in the 80s. We don't mind that as long as the complexes have a bit of foliage around them.

Where we are now, in Nob Hill near UNM, it's funky, which we like, with a stretch of Central Ave that's reminiscent of Melrose in L.A. The area is considered upscale. Whole Foods, which we also like, is a mile and a half away, and rents are $1200 to $1400/mo. Ours is a 1000 sq ft 1950s house with a kitchen about the size of a bathroom, old cabinets that don't even close, and the original very worn linoleum. We're tired of paying that much every month for a house we can't fix-up, and we'd love to be saving more anyway. To buy in our current area would be about $250K to $400K for a house and mean a mortgage. ABQ has very few townhomes and they're almost the same price as the houses.

BTW, you can't find anything in ABQ even close to $50K in price that isn't in gang territory.
I don't think you'll find much in that $50k range that is going to suit you. But there is one question that you neglected to address, and it's a biggie: where will you be working? If from home, and you are willing to be farther away from Phoenix metro, you can still find some SFR's maybe. Do remember that HOA communities are pervasive hete, so you will have that to consider in your budgeting.

Regardless, you need to rent first 6-12 months minimum. If it were me, I'd rent cheap and save up some more money, stop buying groceries at Whole Foods, and watch how much you can save!). Or, if the goal is to be near Pasadena, why even bother with Phoenix at all?

You might search for posts by Khuntrevor. He purchases properties in that price range for rentals, and I believe uses one for his own residence.

Good luck.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:08 AM
 
16 posts, read 32,031 times
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Thanks for the reply. Not sure I understand, "pervasively hete?" We work at home, online.

Re: Whole Foods. It's is our one indulgence. It's also necessary because our business is related to cooking, and Smith's or WalMart just doesn't cut it.

We live very modestly. We're not big partiers, don't have toys, have a car that's paid off, don't have or want any credit cards, don't go to the movies preferring to stream them at home, haven't shopped at a mall in years, vacations are usually road trips with an emphasis on nature, local restaurants and old school photography. Our daughter, we're proud to say, is very independent-minded, and is leaving for college soon with scholarships and a job already planned out, no loans, so we're not too concerned in that area. We put a third of our gross income into savings each month, so I think we're a lot more frugal than some people.

Yes, we could save more before buying, but we'd rather put those savings toward buying a second rental property. Will check posts by Khuntrevor, as you suggest.

Couldn't begin to afford to go home to the old neighborhood. The house I grew up in, which my grandmother built for $5K in 1946 is now valued at just under a million. We're looking for an affordable alternative in a big city that still allows us to take the occasional road trip to L.A., without having to pay CA taxes.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:14 AM
 
1,232 posts, read 3,133,033 times
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I think he/she meant "HOAs are pervasive here" (so plan on monthly HOA fees).

I think Dobson Ranch is fine, personally. You don't have kids in school, it's an older suburban area, you're not going to get mugged on your way to WF or anything. I also have seen cheap townhouses in other parts of Mesa, in areas I wouldn't hesitate to live (without kids in school).

How close to WF do you need to be? I think there are only a couple stores in Phx. One is maybe 15 minutes west on I-60 from Dobson Ranch area. I think Trader Joe's and Sprouts and other options have much better prices.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:20 AM
 
16 posts, read 32,031 times
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Thanks, ReadyFreddy. Much appreciated. We love Trader Joe's, too, and go there at least once a week. Wish Sunflower Markets had some stores in AZ, they have incredible produce, but don't think they do. If we can get to WF in 20 minutes, we'd be fine. It was one of the reasons we were considering Dobson Ranch. It's only about 6 miles from the Tempe store.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:51 AM
 
3,391 posts, read 7,162,010 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvGreenChile View Post
Thanks, ReadyFreddy. Much appreciated. We love Trader Joe's, too, and go there at least once a week. Wish Sunflower Markets had some stores in AZ, they have incredible produce, but don't think they do. If we can get to WF in 20 minutes, we'd be fine. It was one of the reasons we were considering Dobson Ranch. It's only about 6 miles from the Tempe store.
There are Sunflower Markets here. Store Locator :: Sunflower Markets (http://www.sunflowermarkets.com/StoreLocator.aspx - broken link)
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:01 AM
 
16 posts, read 32,031 times
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Cool! Better and better.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:12 AM
 
1,232 posts, read 3,133,033 times
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Originally Posted by Kimballette View Post
There are Sunflower Markets here. Store Locator :: Sunflower Markets (http://www.sunflowermarkets.com/StoreLocator.aspx - broken link)
That Tempe one would also be easily accessible from Dobson Ranch.

I should add, I haven't been in DR in a while and don't really know what the townhouses are like, how many are rentals, etc. I work PT at the MCC campus right near there and my father also rented an apt. not too far from there once. It's an older, lower income, run down area, at least north of 60 is. MCC itself is not run-down, but the surrounding neighborhoods mostly are, but probably not Dobson Ranch, given the HOAs. That stretch of Dobson from 60 north to Main or so is rich in Asian markets and Asian restaurants, which might appeal to your foodie side. The Fiesta Mall area just east of there (Southern & Alma School) is pretty bad looking, with tons of vacant retail space, though the city's trying to do something about it. That mall itself is no destination, either, anymore. I lived not too far from there when I moved to Mesa in 92 and I feel a little sick seeing it's state now.

Definitely visit and explore first, unless you're fine with perhaps buying elsewhere in a year or so and making that a rental. You sound like Tempe is more your style, but it'll cost a bit more. Why not divert some of that heavy cash savings into a pretty safe real estate bet in Tempe? The older couple I know who live in that WF area in Tempe sound a lot like you and just adore it there. They've lived there like 17 years, too, so it's not the honeymoon stage. They rave that absolutely everything is right there.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:36 AM
 
16 posts, read 32,031 times
Reputation: 16
I think you may be right, Ready. First step is to spend a few days in the area, then go home and think about it. But it's sounding more like Tempe is the place. Just searched Tempe on the realtor site. If we could delay a little longer, and saved a little more, we could probably swing it. HOA dues are fine, but we just don't want a mortgage.

Thank you for all the suggestions!!
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
19,437 posts, read 27,838,210 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimballette View Post
There are Sunflower Markets here. Store Locator :: Sunflower Markets (http://www.sunflowermarkets.com/StoreLocator.aspx - broken link)
and if you like Sunflower, I think you'll REALLY like Sprouts.

Dobson Ranch used to be a primo community. It's gotten old and a bit tired, but still is a great location, safe, convenient and the lakes within make for a very pretty and unusual setting in AZ.

Do consider those HOA, fees.

Edited to add: Yes, Tempe does sound like a better opportunity for you, especially if you are looking to rent the property later. The East Valley in general is a GREAT place for a foodie. The quickest growing Asian population area in the country. Lots of small, independent ethnic restaurants of all varieties in Chandler, Tempe and Mesa. Amazing Asian grocery store in Chandler - Lee-Lee - and Pro's Ranch Market at Stapley and Southern in Mesa for Mexican/Hispanic foods.

PS - Congrats on the daughter. Sounds like an outstanding young woman.
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