Author Topic: I live in the hood  (Read 5570 times)

rowdey

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I live in the hood
« on: February 23, 2016, 10:16:56 PM »
My fiance and I are 22. We both deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for a year- there isn't a lot to spend money on down there (free "hooch" [trailer], free food) so we saved 90% of our income. We came home in November, 2015 with enough money to buy a house, mortgage free! We paid $30k and put 10k into renovations. We hope to get $70,000 it sells.

I have another house- I took out student loans to buy & renovate it a few years ago (no debt now!). It rents for $650 a month, but it's 1000 miles away in North Carolina and my parents are getting tired of landlording for me. Market value is $65,000.

We live in Mobile, AL. He grew up here & he swears our neighborhood isn't the hood. I heard gunshots and then a car speeding away last night. I do crazy things like DRIVING TO THE PARK TO RUN because I don't feel comfortable walking through my neighborhood alone.

We both have 4 year degrees and plan on continuing with another 4 years of professional school- I want to be a surgeon and he wants to be a professor. We each have the GI bill to pay for school & approximately $1000 in living expenses (each) monthly. We have approximately $15k in cash savings. Monthly income is $2500 (not counting rental income) until school starts in the fall.

WHAT HE WANTS:
-stay in our current house
-keep rental house in NC, hire property manager
-never ever have a mortgage (he grew up hearing his parents have nightly money fights, and he is terrified of any debt at all)

WHAT I WANT:
-move! move-in ready houses walking distance from school, in nice neighborhoods sell for $125-150k
-sell at least the NC house for down payment
-sell current house & take out very small mortgage, or keep current house, rent it out, and take on a larger mortgage


We are young, and we're trying to get off to the best start we can. I appreciate any advice you have!!!!! :)

arebelspy

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2016, 10:26:54 PM »
Obviously your safety should come first.

You should look up crime stats for your area, and see how safe you are (or aren't).

Some sort of compromise will likely have to happen--saving up aggressively to purchase a house in cash, if that's what he wants, perhaps, or getting a small mortgage and throwing all your funds at it to pay it off in < 1 year, maybe.

Either way, it's not something strangers on the internet can decide for you, it's something that will come about with open and honest communication between you and your fiance.

Good luck!
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little_brown_dog

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2016, 06:44:25 AM »
Unsafe neighborhoods can be just as damaging to your health and your relationships as the stress from money problems. Gunshots and feeling too unsafe to go for a run are bad signs. It sounds like you and your partner have very different definitions of safe. But it is clear that your neighborhood is at the very least in a gray area when it comes to safety.
If you want children, the safety of their neighborhood is absolutely critical for proper development. A small mortgage is not a financial death knell - it is the consumer debt (or mortgages that are too high) that really crush people. It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders. You need to tell him you just don't feel safe and do not want to live there long term. Come up with a plan together to move to a safer neighborhood. Unless he is truly crazy, I doubt he'll pick living in a terrible neighborhood over his fiance.




AZDude

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2016, 08:51:43 AM »
I was just about to say that a young man, especially former military, probably has a different idea of what a dangerous neighborhood is than a young woman. ARS has a good idea in checking out actual statistics to see if the place is really that bad and then bringing the evidence to your SO.

Also, buying a house might not be a great idea considering a career as a surgeon might take you far away from Alabama.

FLBiker

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2016, 08:54:55 AM »
Personally, no amount of savings is worth living somewhere you don't feel safe (assuming, of course, you don't have a crazy level of paranoia).

I'd move.  And I'd rent.  I don't have experience in medicine, but finding professor gigs nowadays is pretty tricky in many fields and will likely require a relocation or two.

BikeFanatic

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2016, 09:55:47 AM »
I live in the hood too and while it is much cheaper, it really is very unsafe for a woman, especially a 22 year old. I frequently pick my wife up from the train because I dont want her walking home after dark, people look at her and think easy mark. Tell your husband he needs to find you both a nice place. A small mortage with low interest is very reasonable and he is being penny wise ( low value paid off property)and dollar foolish ( wifes safety).

Also I would advise you to turn around and walk the other way if you see anything suspicious, trust your gut feeling and dont worry about embarrising anyone. This trusting your gut has saved me from being jumped more than once. I also ride my bike alot and I feel that is much safer than walking, but less safe than driving.

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2016, 11:49:03 AM »
I also live in the hood, and was distressed about it at first. There was nothing but corner stores within a half mile in every direction from my house - no banks, no cafes, no grocery stores, just a wasteland. There were groups of guys hanging out on the street corners, and significantly more police sirens and gun shots than optimal.

But I actually have learned to really like it. There is some selling of drugs, and some targeted gun violence. Every once in a while we hear a chopper over head looking for someone. But according to the stats the rates of muggings/assault are very low in this area, so I actually feel completely safe walking around (and I walk a lot). And I am young woman. The guys hanging out on the corner say hi. They know I'm not in the game. The neighbors are friendly. Property crime rates are actually higher a mile or two a way in the higher income areas, but we still make sure to lock up tight and make our cars/house look unappealing to someone looking for an easy score. I guess I've just learned to live with it, and the neighborhood has slowly been getting better over time as more families with kids move in. And its allowed us a level of financial freedom we never would have had elsewhere.

I guess I would say to check out crime stats and see what kind of crime is actually occurring in your neighborhood, and whether you are likely to be a victim of it. If you have a justified reason to fear for your safety (beyond just living in a run down neighborhood), then you should move. But consider the fact that your neighborhood is just full of a bunch of poor/brown people, rather than actually dangerous to you.

norabird

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2016, 12:14:46 PM »
My area has some gang violence and random shootings, but is in a gentrifying part of brooklyn, and I don't think I ever feel unsafe, despite being probably more likely to be a victim here than in previous neighborhoods. That's within my comfort level but we each have our own and yours doesn't need to change, necessarily. A compromise location would be a nice way to go--which means a move to a place you feel comfortable.

tobitonic

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2016, 06:26:36 PM »
If my wife told me she didn't feel safe enough to leave our house on foot, we'd be gone.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2016, 10:33:19 PM »
I also live in the hood, and was distressed about it at first. There was nothing but corner stores within a half mile in every direction from my house - no banks, no cafes, no grocery stores, just a wasteland. There were groups of guys hanging out on the street corners, and significantly more police sirens and gun shots than optimal.

But I actually have learned to really like it. There is some selling of drugs, and some targeted gun violence. Every once in a while we hear a chopper over head looking for someone. But according to the stats the rates of muggings/assault are very low in this area, so I actually feel completely safe walking around (and I walk a lot). And I am young woman. The guys hanging out on the corner say hi. They know I'm not in the game. The neighbors are friendly. Property crime rates are actually higher a mile or two a way in the higher income areas, but we still make sure to lock up tight and make our cars/house look unappealing to someone looking for an easy score. I guess I've just learned to live with it, and the neighborhood has slowly been getting better over time as more families with kids move in. And its allowed us a level of financial freedom we never would have had elsewhere.

I guess I would say to check out crime stats and see what kind of crime is actually occurring in your neighborhood, and whether you are likely to be a victim of it. If you have a justified reason to fear for your safety (beyond just living in a run down neighborhood), then you should move. But consider the fact that your neighborhood is just full of a bunch of poor/brown people, rather than actually dangerous to you.

+1

I also lived in the hood as a young women (when I was OP's age, in fact) and nothing bad happened to me as a result. In my experience most of the crime happened between people who knew each other, so if you didn't travel in those circles, you weren't likely to be a victim. I'm lily white, appear very feminine and am from a sheltered, rural area. Still was never bothered. I'm actually glad that I've lived in the hood because it gave me first-hand experience to combat the stereotypes that most of the people where I grew up believe and espouse.

This isn't to suggest you should stay if you don't like the area. Have you considered moving into your North Carolina house and renting out the Mobile home (sorry, had to do it)?

Schnurr

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2016, 10:50:41 PM »
I think I am in a very similar situation to SilveradoBojangles and generally agree with her post (and so would my wife). I think there are definitely things you can do to try and feel safer in your neighborhood before deciding to move.

Find out how dangerous your neighborhood truly is compared to neighborhoods that are considered nicer. As others have mentioned, property crime may very well be higher in those "nicer" neighborhoods. Regarding violent crime, keep in mind that most rapes and murders are not committed by strangers. The odds of being a "random" victim of a violent crime are very small, and can be further minimized by taking some precautions. The thing about humans is that we suck at comparing relative risks. You are far, far more likely to be in a serious car crash which kills or maims you than to be murdered or raped by a random stranger, yet you are asking whether you should move to a nicer neighborhood, not whether you should stop getting into cars. As a woman, you are far, far more likely to be killed by your significant other than by a random stranger on the street. I don't know how you commute, but if it's by bike or car, it is entirely possible that the effect of keeping your expenses low by staying in your current neighborhood, which allows you to save more, which allows you to FIRE earlier, which allows you to stop commuting by bike or car sooner, which lowers your lifetime risk of dying on said commute is far greater than the added danger, if any, of living in your current neighborhood versus a "nicer" neighborhood.

At the same time, there are things you can do to feel more comfortable in your neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors. Bake cookies for them if you need an excuse to talk to them. Set up an informal neighborhood watch. Go on walks around the neighborhood during the day and say hello to people (with your husband or a dog, if you feel uncomfortable on your own). Go to community meetings. Get involved. Even in some of the "worst" neighborhoods in America, you will find that the vast majority of people are not that different from you. They want to make a living, raise their families, and work to ensure that their kids will have it easier than they did. How long have you lived in your neighborhood? Time can have a huge effect. I was nervous when I first moved to our neighborhood, but the more time I spend here, the more people I get to know, the safer I feel. And the more I love living here.

Which brings me to a touchy subject, and if you live in a predominantly white hood, ignore it. Examine your own prejudices. It's ok, everyone has them. Does the color of your neighbors' skin affect how safe you feel? Are there situations in your neighborhood that make you nervous (noises that sound like gunshots, groups of young men hanging out, etc. etc.) , that wouldn't make you as nervous if you lived in a "nice" neighborhood and they happened there? If someone sketches you out, ask yourself whether you would feel that way if they were white. Don't suppress or ignore your prejudices, but confront them and challenge them.

But yeah, if none of this works, then move. You live in a LCOL area and it sounds like you can afford it.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2016, 09:33:30 AM »
Hearing gunshots that aren't from a shooting range means you aren't going to feel safe. I think asking the OP to examine her prejudices when she hears gunshots at night is missing the point.

The shots last night were probably targeted, but drive-by shootings are not exactly surgical.

(I hear gunshots all the time, but they're from a shooting range a mile or so away.)

slugsworth

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2016, 12:50:56 PM »
Safety is a matter of perspective, but bottom line, if you don't feel safe you should move. I don't see a reason why you are limiting your options though. Why not rent until you have the cash to buy outright if no mortgage is a big deal to your SO? Could that be a viable compromise?

Renting can be a very good option, especially if you are evaluating a neighborhood before buying there.

Goldielocks

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2016, 07:55:12 PM »

At the same time, there are things you can do to feel more comfortable in your neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors. Bake cookies for them if you need an excuse to talk to them. Set up an informal neighborhood watch. Go on walks around the neighborhood during the day and say hello to people (with your husband or a dog, if you feel uncomfortable on your own). Go to community meetings. Get involved. Even in some of the "worst" neighborhoods in America, you will find that the vast majority of people are not that different from you. .....
.....
Which brings me to a touchy subject, and if you live in a predominantly white hood, ignore it. Examine your own prejudices. It's ok, everyone has them. Does the color of your neighbors' skin affect how safe you feel? Are there situations in your neighborhood that make you nervous (noises that sound like gunshots, groups of young men hanging out, etc. etc.) , that wouldn't make you as nervous if you lived in a "nice" neighborhood and they happened there?

Ok - I agreed with most of this post except the bolded part above -- For the vast majority of women, groups of young men hanging out is a bold flashing "CAUTION" sign no matter how nice the neighborhood is.    It doesn't matter if they are construction workers on a coffee break making catcalls or a group of young men at the sport park for a pick up game... If there are more than 2-3, most women cross the road or find a different route when alone.   

The only way through this is if you actually get to know them a bit as individuals first, then they are friends, not "groups" (e.g., Roseanne's grandson who helps his grandmother).

Next..  It really is a lot different for a young woman under age 30...   Every situation for a young woman needs a bigger "caution" sign than for other people.    A woman under 30 gets a lot more attention / notice, and some people were raised that it was ok to approach / harass young women alone.

Rosy

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2016, 09:42:00 PM »
Doesn't matter if you live in the hood or in the mansion on the hill - if you have a good, solid reason for moving then you need to find a compromise. He is your husband to be and if he ignores your concern, then that is a warning flag.
Since he is ex-military I will cut him some slack, he probably "doesn't quite get" how dangerous this area feels to you - where the hell are his protective instincts anyway?
Trust your gut instincts and get the hell out!

You might have to accept his "never ever have a mortgage" mindset -check the crime stats and tell him you don't plan to become a statistic. It is time to find another place.

Here is my story - happened in Houston, TX
Lived in an apartment complex once, the neighborhood turned rough, we noticed it, but it was cheap and a rather nice apartment, so we talked about it, but stayed. The following month they set off a car bomb, blew out the windows in the two nearest buildings, there were car parts in the trees and all over the place, a charred shell of a car. It was one hell of an explosion - the dishes rattled in the cabinets and we were half a block away.
Before we could move out, they shot a guy dead by the pool, blood all over the place, apparently it doesn't clean up well on concrete. My son had been swimming there the day before.
Next, I got mugged on the way home from work. In broad daylight, 5 o'clock in the afternoon - this black lady on drugs, walked up to me from a sidestreet, drew blood on my throat with her switchblade. Pissed me off when she took my briefcase and I went after her .. yeah - duh, she let me live though:)

We visited a friend there about six months later and the whole place was now speaking Spanish. I've never seen a "hood" turn this quick.


Mongoose

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2016, 07:57:39 AM »
I would also like to chime in with moving. If you're planning on medical school, a move may in your future anyway so buying may not be the best option. Medical school is tough and it is likely to be easier to take opportunities (like residency placements), if you can easily relocate.

Also, please don't ignore those feelings of not being safe. I've done that a couple of times and once got caught in an isolated stairwell by a group of men. I had taken a shortcut (in a meh neighborhood in Houston) despite being nervous about it. I have no idea what would've happened if someone else hadn't walked by but a potential audience changed their behavior and I left the area real quickly. If you are interested, I would recommend The Gift of Fear. Great book about trusting those instincts. I leave situations when I get to a certain level of discomfort (and would move in your case). I'd rather pay more or risk embarrassment.

I followed through on that on vacation in Hawaii when a guy in a truck drove into a parking garage when I went in to get my rental car. His driving made me nervous and so when he rolled down the window to talk to me with his radio turned up I was already backing away. I was far enough back that I managed to get away and start running when he jumped out of his truck and tried to grab me. I'm very glad I listened to the nervous feeling rather than rationalizing that he was driving slowly behind me because he was looking for a parking spot in a crowded garage or following me so he could have my parking spot. Both could have been the case but, in this instance, were not.

On a final note, your SO may have a completely different view of risk. In a perfect world, men and women could both go about their lives in safety. But women tend to feel much more unsafe and take many more precautions than men. In a sociology class, this was seen first hand when discussing safety precautions (sort of a discussion of different views of a single culture). Most of the men had only a few; the women had a huge list. A lot of the men indicated that they didn't know that a lot of women were thinking about these things. He may not share your concerns but that doesn't make them invalid; I hope you two can find a win-win compromise.

Gimesalot

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Re: I live in the hood
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2016, 04:57:48 PM »
I can understand your worry.  I too lived in the Mobile hood (corner of Old Shell and Pine), for several years.  Yes, I had many scary encounters and incidents, and no, I would not leave the house by myself after dark.

Honestly though, there wasn't anyone in Mobile that would.  We had friends that lived south of downtown, over by Callahan's, by the mall, out West, etc.  No one felt safe in their neighborhood.  The only people that felt like they lived somewhere nice were the people that lived on the East side of the bay.  Fairhope, Daphne, Spanish Fort, those are better neighborhoods. 

If I were you, I would see if you can make the NC house work with a PM.  The numbers might not make sense. Also, the same for your current house, see if you can make the rental numbers work out.  If not, sell both, but I would avoid buying in Mobile, because at some point, you will most likely need to leave to do residency, and houses in Mobile do not sell very quickly.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 05:00:46 PM by Gimesalot »