Author Topic: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase  (Read 7650 times)

V

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Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« on: March 19, 2015, 06:01:32 AM »
Good Morning everyone,

My husband and I have found a house that we like a lot.  It's on almost 4 acres with no HOA.  The house itself is bigger than we anticipated buying, but it has so much character with its cabin feel on the inside.  One thing we have been concerned about is the fact that it is about 1.5-2 miles away from a prison.  As of right now, that is the biggest hang up on this house.  Is this something that would be a deal breaker?  Has anyone on here ever lived close to a prison?  We see ourselves in the house for a long time, but if we ever decide to sell it could make it harder.  I'm just afraid that we aren't necessarily thinking clearly because we love the house and land so much.  Do you guys have any advice or experiences you could share?

Gray Matter

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2015, 06:17:33 AM »
I can't speak to how this might affect your ability to resell, but it wouldn't bother me at all.  What is your specific concern?  Is it safety?  It's not like people are busting out of prison on a daily basis and raping a pillaging everyone within a 2 miles radius.  I would think the odds are extremely low of the prison impacting your quality of life in any way.  If it was within my view, I might not like that, because it's not that attractive to look at razor wire.  But no, can't think of a reason it would bother me.

nereo

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2015, 06:18:49 AM »
how big/safe is the prison?  Is it a super-max where they put murderers and rapists, or is it a smaller minimum security where they send white-collar criminals?  I'd look into the reported crime of the surrounding area.  Also, what are the other houses in the neighborhood like?  Spend some time learning what the other families nearby are like and whether it's largely home-owners or short-term renters.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2015, 06:19:16 AM »
Sounds like you are about to make a huge decision based on emotion. Highly unadvisable.

Compare this house to a smaller house with a less steeper price tag and smaller property.

Is it worth heating, cooling, cleaning, maintaining, repairing, insuring all of that extra square footage and property?

Is it worth the opportunity cost of possibly retiring or being financially independant much earlier by buying a larger house?

How long will you stay in the house? Are their options closer to your place of employment with a lower price tag?

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2015, 06:36:33 AM »
What part of Ga?

Why do you NEED 4 acres if your end goal is to sell?

If those nice neighborhoods were built beside this house that are beside the prison then I probably wouldn't worry about it too much.


Le Poisson

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2015, 06:38:41 AM »
What part of Ga?

Why do you NEED 4 acres if your end goal is to sell?

If those nice neighborhoods were built beside this house that are beside the prison then I probably wouldn't worry about it too much.

An acreage is a pain to maintain. I loved ours when we had it, but after cutting the lawn in-town twice, and not having to drive half an hour to swimming lessons, I am so happy we sold it.

misschedda

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2015, 06:40:22 AM »
I recently lived near a prison and never thought about it or had it affect my life at all. But the bigger issue seems to be that you aren't thinking super rationally about this house. Can you take a step back in some way? See more houses? Wait a little while?

MishMash

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2015, 06:42:04 AM »
I think I would only worry if it was GA State prison in tattnall.  A lot of the GA prisons are minimum to medium and 15 miles is fine.  We rented near ADX Florence in CO for a while (our countries only super super max prison) and we never had an issue.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2015, 06:57:52 AM »
I live 2 miles from a state prison- it's the medical processing center so EVERY incarcerated person in our state processes through there.  Our neighborhood has 4 law enforcement officers of various levels in it, and they have all said "if someone breaks out, they aren't stopping here, we are way too close".  (And home values near the prison are not lower than ones farther from the prison. Weirdly the prison is in a great location in our city. I'm guessing it used to be in the middle of nowhere, but it is not anymore.)

I don't think I'd want to be isolated near a prison though.

To be honest, I didn't even think about the prison when we bought the house. 
We used to live about 5 miles from it, and didn't even know it was there...

« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 07:34:46 AM by iowajes »

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2015, 07:01:07 AM »
Disturbingly a lot of the people in prison aren't even violent criminals or fraudsters. That doesn't really worry me.

What I do think you should be worried about is buying something bigger than you intended. Extra square feet are a huge pain in the rear.

Lis

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2015, 07:02:39 AM »
Are we talking completely alone, cabin in the woods like? Four acres is a lot of land, but not terribly big if you have neighbors around. If that's the only house for miles around, though, I understand your reservation.

Not too far away from me, there are two prisons - medium security and maximum security - that also have schools near by. Not next door neighbors, but enough to make you go, hmm.... But maybe that's almost better, since there are plenty of people (and police) around.

I wouldn't be too keen on living in a house with zero people around for miles regardless of the nearest prison, but that's just me. I think as long as you have a decent security system that you're comfortable with (whether it's ADT, a loud scary sounding dog, a shotgun, whatever), I think you'd be fine.

SnackDog

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2015, 07:29:15 AM »
Prison escapes are more common than you might think.  Florida alone averaged an escape every other day last year.

On the other hand, if you are not bothered by this you might be getting a big discount on the home price.  A friend of mine has a great house pretty close to one of the most infamous prisons in the world (Kerobokan) and hasn't had an issue.  Of course, he has a 10 foot wall around the property...

I'm a red panda

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2015, 07:36:19 AM »
Are those escapes from actual prisons with walls and wires?

From the news reports around here, all the "escapes" were people on work release programs where they lived in a half-way house, and just didn't come back at the end of the day.

slugline

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2015, 08:35:52 AM »
I grew up in an area that had lots of prison property. It's not a big deal at all, with the possible exception of being a blight on the view from your porch? In fact, it could be a plus because it probably be a stable contributor to the local economy and employment base.

affordablehousing

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2015, 08:51:38 AM »
our vacation house is a couple blocks from the prison (an urban vacation house) and honestly it's the nicest looking building around that neighborhood, crenelated roof, stone ornaments, looks like an old castle (almost makes me want to visit someone to see the inside though doubting it's as pretty. I would have zero concerns over safety- released prisoners usually go back to their old neighborhoods, but just concerns on resale. Ask a few mothers about it. If they think it's a problem, and you're going to sell the house in a few years, I'd look for another place, if they shrug their shoulders, go for it it sounds like you like the place. Hope this helps. One last thing, may help to clarify if it's a prison or a jail. Jails usually have a lot more traffic in and out, and have more court type business nearby that are less cool (bailbondsmen, bars, etc.).

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2015, 08:57:57 AM »
Oh and the house is in Lawrenceville.  We have been looking at houses for over a year and have put offers in on 4 I think, but they wouldn't be reasonable (in our opinions) on the price.  We have been very actively involved in our home search and this is the first one where we like it, the owners understood our concerns and were negotiable, and one we could see ourselves in.  My husband used to work in construction and is very critical on homes.  He knows what it costs and the labor needed to fix some of the items we have run into.

Hey V, I'm also L'ville based and have recently been searching for homes in the area as well. We've put in 1 offer so far, over asking price, and still got rejected.

Am I ask your price range? Just curious.

The house is bigger than we intended to buy because we were really trying to embrace the "tiny house" idea in our own way.  We were trying to stay 1700 sg ft or less.  Total the finish portion of the house is about 2200 sq ft, so it's "average" I guess.  It has an unfinished basement, but that will be my husband's shop and possibly an area we will have a gym.  We have no plans on finishing the basement unless my father needed some where to go for retirement.  Even then, we would only finish part of it.  We do not have kids yet, but do plan on having one.  The house would give us the room to expand if we choose.  In the meantime, my sister-in-law lives with us so she would occupy the upstairs.

I'll go ahead and vouch for V here that what's preached on the forums doesn't really apply to the houses here. I've been looking for over a year for a house that gave me a grocery store, library, (decent schools), and a park in walking distance . I've also been looking for anything in the $130-190k range. Honestly, I feel your pain, my wife and I feel like giving up on the search and just renting a house.

The one house we made an offer on doesn't have a park, grocery store, or library within reasonable walking distance. :(

zurich78

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2015, 08:59:00 AM »
I actually wonder if crime rates might be lower right near prisons.  You going to rob the house next to a prison protected by dozens of police officers, or the one where there isn't a prison for miles and miles?  Haha.  No data to prove that, but, seems to make sense.

mrshudson

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2015, 09:13:22 AM »
I will chime in and add that if you hesitate about purchasing a home, other people will hesitate about buying it when you offer to sell in the market. OP doesn't seem to have given any info on how long the property has been on the market - this number should not be neglected. If it has been sitting longer than average, then the proximity to prison might be an issue.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2015, 10:01:35 AM »
It does seem like it could be safer.  The other thing is the Police Dept is next door to the prison, so they are close if we need them.

I'm guessing you are looking somewhere near the 316 and 20 prison? I wouldn't worry about it much.

Jack

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2015, 10:56:21 AM »
I'm guessing you are looking somewhere near the 316 and 20 prison? I wouldn't worry about it much.

Isn't there an elementary school across the street from there? If the students' parents aren't freaking out about it, then I can't imagine it being that big a deal.

Personally, I'd rather live two miles away from this prison (i.e., in Grant Park), but that's just because Atlanta is better than Lawrenceville in general. (I actually live about 4 miles away, and have never had a prison-related problem.)

The house is a good distance away from both or our works

This is your bigger problem. Where (general area) do you and your husband work?

BlueHouse

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2015, 11:22:01 AM »
I live in a dense urban city and I'm close enough (about 1.5 miles) that I hear the "escape siren" every Saturday at noon (they test it).  I like it.  A friend of mine lives directly in front of the prison/jail.  No problem there, but the parking lot is the eyesore.   That space is shared though, with other city services that I think are more disruptive and I would have a problem if I could SEE it visually.  So I would ask these questions:
1.  When are visiting hours and where do the buses line up for visitors?  Would these buses idle anywhere near you or travel past your property?
2.  Are there other businesses nearby that could give a "seedy" impression?  Bail bonds, short-term motels, low-rent tattoo parlors, etc? 
3.  Is there a parole office nearby?  I would not be concerned with a prison, but if ex-cons or families of convicts are required to travel through my neighborhood on a regular basis, then I wouldn't like that.   

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2015, 12:07:47 PM »
Isn't there an elementary school across the street from there? If the students' parents aren't freaking out about it, then I can't imagine it being that big a deal.

My middle school used to be near by, haha. I think it's a gift center or whatever they call the school for the bad kids now.

Do you have kids? I want to be downtown so bad man. Lville sucks. I'm tired of Gwinnett. I can afford decent spots there and would even "stretch" (30%) myself to live in a decent spot downtown. The schools just really scare me because I have a young daughter.

Jack

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2015, 02:00:09 PM »
Isn't there an elementary school across the street from there? If the students' parents aren't freaking out about it, then I can't imagine it being that big a deal.

My middle school used to be near by, haha. I think it's a gift center or whatever they call the school for the bad kids now.

I remember doing some kind of summer camp thing there when I was elementary-school age. I'm pretty sure that's where I learned LOGO programming.

Do you have kids? I want to be downtown so bad man. Lville sucks. I'm tired of Gwinnett. I can afford decent spots there and would even "stretch" (30%) myself to live in a decent spot downtown. The schools just really scare me because I have a young daughter.

I've written about Atlanta city schools pretty extensively in other threads here before. The short (err,  short-ish) answer is that:
  • The Grady cluster is actually quite good, but the neighborhoods in that cluster (e.g. Virginia-Highland, Candler Park, Inman Park, etc.) are mostly pretty expensive. Old Fourth Ward is the closest thing to affordable, but between the schools and the Beltline it's incredibly hot right now.
  • The Maynard Jackson cluster (where I live) is up-and-coming and has nice yet still reasonably-affordable homes. This cluster has the most charter school choices of anywhere I know of. Two of the charters are very good and K-8; the other is K-12 and excellent. The public elementary schools range from decent to good. The public high school was just extensively renovated, has just started an International Baccalaureate program, and is rapidly improving. The public middle schools are still problematic.
  • I don't know much about the other clusters, but I get the impression that they mostly suck. The North Atlanta cluster (in Buckhead) "should" be decent, but I think most of the kids with involved parents end up in private school instead. If, when you say you want to live downtown, you mean literally downtown (in a high-rise condo or something) then schools might be a problem.
Basically, the Jackson cluster is at the same stage the Grady cluster was at 10-15 years ago. I don't have kids yet but probably will soon; I expect the schools at each level to be good by the time my kids are old enough to go to them. Jackson parents are actively organizing to improve the cluster just as Grady parents did before them.

By the way, Decatur's schools are really good, and Decatur would be great town to live in. If I had a little bit more money and were making the decision now, it'd be a toss-up between Old Fourth Ward and Decatur.

chops

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2015, 03:17:58 PM »
Wait, is this THE PRISON from the Walking Dead in GA?  If so, absolutely no problem selling, as millions of Walking Dead fans will line up and out-bid each other to buy it!! 

If it's not, you'll be fine too.  :)  Just do your research on what other homes have sold for in the area, and don't overpay.  Every house will eventually sell for the right price.

Good luck,

 - Chops   

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Unbiased Opinion on Home Purchase
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2015, 04:42:51 PM »
Consider the prison as you would any public building or attraction/nuisance. Is your street on the main route to the prison? On visiting days, will cars be backed up on your street, or will people use your land for overflow parking, or to camp out? Are there sirens going all night as police cars leave and return to the station? Stuff like that.