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The Question of House Location vs. Cost

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've been casually house hunting for a while, and I'm particularly picky single dude. I find a beautiful 4-bedroom house built in the 1930's... it's got all the architectual details I hope for... nice hardwood flooring throughout, spacious rooms, high ceilings, crown moulding... basically, space and character. It's also just been renovated throughout and is priced rock bottom as part of a state-funded program trying to revitalize home ownership in certain Syracuse city neighborhoods. The downside is that it's in a very questionable neighborhood. Nobody's house on the street is boarded up or has trash on the front lawn (though a block in either direction there are) but there are plenty of shootings and the occasional murder, drive by, home invasion or armed store robbery in that general area of the city. Granted, I'm guessing a lot of this has to do with drugs, gangs or both - but nonetheless it's unsettling. How many of you would opt for paying more for a crappier, smaller house or even settle for an apartment in a better neighborhood over a beautiful and affordable house in a shady neighborhood?
post #2 of 21
You better enjoy those details cuz you sure as hell won't be going outside. I've found that places like these aren't worth it. It's unfortunate, but not worth it. Buy the smallest house in the best neighborhood instead of the nicest house in a bad neighborhood.
post #3 of 21
Agree with tiecollector. What's the point of having a nice house if you can't raise kids there or are afraid to invite over friends 'cuz their rims might get stolen? Or you can't go on vacation 'cuz someone's going to break in and steal your stereo? Your resale value will be worse off for it too. The exception would be what is known as an 'up and coming' neighborhood, i.e. a semi-bad area that's being gentrified and has a lot of ppl moving into it (who aren't criminals). Those can be great, especially from an investment point-of-view. But caveat emptor. Research the shit out of it before you commit.
post #4 of 21
I'm definitely guilty of the better neighborhood over "quantity or size" of home. I own a small condo but can walk or drive for miles without seeing any graffiti or bad ass kids walking around. The only time I hear sirens are when there's a traffic accident. Old people & young kids are walking or riding bikes early in the morning or late at night. In fact I don't even know where the nearest liquor or gun store is. For the same money I could have bought a huge SFR about 40 miles away but, no thanks.
post #5 of 21
Gentrification is your friend.

Buy the house, try to get another next to it fix it up and rent it to hipsters.
Repeat as needed till you start seeing profits.

Otherwise, I hear gun laws are pretty liberal in upstate New Yawk
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiecollector View Post
Buy the smallest house in the best neighborhood instead of the nicest house in a bad neighborhood.

QFT as personal residences go. Buy the house in the hood for a rental!
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiecollector View Post
You better enjoy those details cuz you sure as hell won't be going outside. I've found that places like these aren't worth it. It's unfortunate, but not worth it. Buy the smallest house in the best neighborhood instead of the nicest house in a bad neighborhood.
Never "” ever "” own the most expensive house in the neighborhood.
post #8 of 21
I know nothing about this topic, but I have a fun story about my cousin in DC. He bought a place in an inner city neighbourhood for an in-fill. To deal with the riff raff, he used his white boy connections to get a street light and paving put it in the alleyway, had a couple cosmetic changes made to the street, and now, when he asks the kids playing dice on his hood to move so he can go shopping, it's no problem. And the crack dealing granny next door greets him by name.

It's heart warming.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by unjung View Post
...the crack dealing granny next door greets him by name.

It's heart warming.

One of my grandmothers sold moonshine during prohibition.
post #10 of 21
To me the only time to buy in a bad neighborhood is when the city is doing a reconstruction project that gets rid of all the crime and low income residents, raising the property values. I would give the example of New Haven, CT as one. The downtown area when I was younger was a total dump and rampant crime existed everywhere. Then with the help of Yale, they started buying up blocks, and slowly crime moved to outskirt areas and the downtown area with the exception of a couple streets (that are in the process of being renovated) have all seen new shops, high end restaurants, and many nice new resident construction projects. The property values have gone up quite a bit in these areas. Me though I'd rather be in a nice area.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by visionology View Post
To me the only time to buy in a bad neighborhood is when the city is doing a reconstruction project that gets rid of all the crime and low income residents, raising the property values.

I would give the example of New Haven, CT as one. The downtown area when I was younger was a total dump and rampant crime existed everywhere. Then with the help of Yale, they started buying up blocks, and slowly crime moved to outskirt areas and the downtown area with the exception of a couple streets (that are in the process of being renovated) have all seen new shops, high end restaurants, and many nice new resident construction projects. The property values have gone up quite a bit in these areas.


Me though I'd rather be in a nice area.

New Haven is a great example. Even the area around Science Hill used to be ghettofied, now pretty much everything around Yale is gentrified. I know that they are tryiny to do that with John's Hopkins as well.
post #12 of 21
if safety isn't your main concern then go for it.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post
New Haven is a great example. Even the area around Science Hill used to be ghettofied, now pretty much everything around Yale is gentrified. I know that they are tryiny to do that with John's Hopkins as well.

Now they need to find a way to repeat the process with Hartford and Bridgeport. Unfortunately these towns need to find their "Yale". Bridgeport IMO would be even a bigger catch if they could pull something like this off because it's in such a prime spot in Fairfield county bordering some pretty high end towns. Some of the old factories and warehouses would make some prime condo units too.


For me I need a good area because I plan to not live there too long, perhaps 7 years so I don't have time to wait for a reconstruction and in a short term sell, tax rates, schooling, crime, etc are all big factors when selling a home.
post #14 of 21
don't worry. they don;t even kill yuppies in bed-stuy anymore. i have kids so i opted for tiny house/good schools.
post #15 of 21
I bought in Buffalo last summer, so I think the stock is pretty similar. I bought a house just like you described but in an above-average neighborhood. The market in Syracuse is low enough that you should be able to buy in a better neighborhood. It may be hard to find what your looking for, but the scenario you explained is full of potential problems.

Ask yourself if you really need that much space as a single dude. Your heating bill will probably be as much as your mortgage in an old house like that. I just had to close off and insulate the floor of my full walkup attic because of this.

If there is a crime problem, I don't think it is on the upswing. I think you should keep looking. Buy in the cheapest neighborhood without the crime problems.
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