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Old 02-22-2009, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA
117 posts, read 434,688 times
Reputation: 35

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Okay, so I would really like to buy a house soon, now that prices are very low and the feds are offering an $8000 tax credit to first time buyers. Here's the thing: I'd like to keep it at $175,000 or less (we could qualify for more, but I want to be able to make the payments if my husband or I ever get laid off).

I see tons of houses on the market in this price range, but I also want to avoid neighborhoods where I'll be caught in a gang shooting if I walk out my front door. So, my question is...where should I look? Right now I rent an apartment in the Pocket and I'm sure there's no way I could afford a place here. Should I try West Sac? Elk Grove? Ideally, I'd like to have easy access to I-5. My husband works in Stockton, so we can't live too far north. If possible, we'd like to stay in or near the city, rather than in Galt or something. School districts are not important to us, as we have no kids and don't plan on having any.

So...any advice? Or should I give up before I even start searching?
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Old 02-22-2009, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Happiness is found inside your smile :)
3,178 posts, read 13,748,038 times
Reputation: 1285
Have you thought about a condo?
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Old 02-22-2009, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
13,864 posts, read 24,640,955 times
Reputation: 6600
Elk Grove would probably be the only option based on your requirements. I could suggest Lodi or Galt, but you seem to want to be closer to Sacramento.
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Old 02-22-2009, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA
117 posts, read 434,688 times
Reputation: 35
CityGirl: I'm not really interested in a condo because my husband plays drums. Plus, we have three cats that hate being cooped up and need to be able to roam around (right now they roam around our apartment complex, but it's not an ideal situation).

NewtoCA: Thanks, I was thinking Elk Grove too. As it is, I do more of my shopping and such there than I do in Sacramento since it's so close.

Really, I don't mind older homes. I find them charming, actually, and am not picky about the house itself at all. I'm more picky about the location...I just don't want to live in an area that seems really seedy and unsafe. An old, cheap, ugly, small house in a great neighborhood would be ideal, but I'm guessing that will be hard to find, lol!
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:32 PM
 
406 posts, read 1,461,433 times
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What you might want to do is go pick up a copy of today's newpaper and open up the business section of the paper. In the business section, you will see the addresses of homes that have recently sold and for how much they sold.

Look at the homes that are in your price range and then run the addresses through the crime mapper here.

Online feature - Crimemapper - sacbee.com

If you find a home that is in the right price range and the neighborhood seems safe enough for you.

Then I would pull up the address on zillow.com. Ignore the z-estimate of what zillow thinks the home should be worth. What you are looking for is the discription of how big the home is, how many beds and how many baths and when you enter the info into zillow, you can look up that information there.

With that you will have a pretty good idea of what a house selling for in your price range will get you.

If you see any homes that intrigue you. Look up the address on google maps and drive by the house. Look at how nice the place was kept up, how well landscaped it was.

By doing that for a few homes, you will get a real good idea of what real estate is going for in various neighborhoods, (not just the listing price, but the selling price) and what neighborhoods seem the most comfortable for you.

For 175k the homes you are looking at might have some issues, but you might have enough of a low maintence personality where the things that might bother other people wouldn't bother you. You might have to fix up the place, it might be a really small single family home 2 bed 1 bath with no garage or there might be problems where the neighborhood seems ok right now, but you aren't really sure what its going to be like 5 or 10 years from now especially if the economy stays weak and the foreclosure problem lingers on.

Neighborhoods that might work would be just south of sutterville road across the street from Curtis Park. In that neighborhood, as you get closer to the rail road tracks and behind the Children's Recieving home. There are some homes that may or may not work. You might also want to look at Hollywood Park or Carlton Track. You could also try Freeport Manor.

http://maps.cityofsacramento.org/Map...20streetsE.pdf

Based upon what you told me, those would probably be the neighborhoods I would be looking at with your budget and what you said your needs were.

I would also look at Lodi. Its a lot closer to Stockton and cheaper than Sac. Unless you had a compelling reason to be in Sac, if I worked in Stockton, I would not be living in Sac.
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Old 02-22-2009, 02:43 PM
 
8,388 posts, read 15,251,139 times
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misterdammit: Depending on how old, older homes can be more expensive than newer ones. And generally, picking the worst house in the best neighborhood you can afford is a very good strategy for home buying. Typically it means paying more for that house than you would pay for the same house in a worse neighborhood, but if you're the sort that can fix up a house (or pay others to fix it) it can work really well.
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Old 02-22-2009, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
13,864 posts, read 24,640,955 times
Reputation: 6600
You know, thinking about it a little, I believe that an area that is really pretty nice and may be in your price range is the Sacramento area around Calvine Rd and Elk Grove Florin Rd. It is a bit to the northeast of Elk Grove, and has some homes that should be in your price range. The area isn't bad at all, with a lot of homes that look like they are about 10-15 years old.

A few examples:

http://www.realtor.com/realestateand...829_1106607770

http://www.realtor.com/realestateand...829_1105903382

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/9125-Greco-Ct_Sacramento_CA_95829_1102568017 (broken link)

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/9320-Heathfield-Way_Sacramento_CA_95829_1106661144 (broken link)
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:53 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA
117 posts, read 434,688 times
Reputation: 35
Thanks for the feedback, all!

NewtoCA: Those links are great, thanks. Those are fine examples of homes I would be more than happy to live in (I don't know the area that well, but the pictures look great!). Really, if I had to buy something a little worse than those, that would be fine too.

I forgot to mention...We need to stay somewhere between Stockton and Sac because, while my husband works in Stockton, I work in Sac. :-)
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
13,864 posts, read 24,640,955 times
Reputation: 6600
Good, glad they are helpful. Here is the information about the general area:

//www.city-data.com/city/Vineyard-California.html
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