Author Topic: The best house on the block - face punches welcome  (Read 1395 times)

HovEratoTo

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The best house on the block - face punches welcome
« on: February 26, 2018, 06:30:44 AM »
Tl;Dr I fell in love with the best house in a tired neighborhood and should probably be talked out of it?

We're looking to buy our first home in Richmond, Virginia. We've been looking for about 3 months at this point, seen maybe 20 houses in person and have become Zillow addicts. Things move fast in the RVA market so we feel like we have to be on it.

This weekend we saw a house I LOVE. Cute little split level that checks ALL my boxes, except three:

- its not walking distance to a grocery store, but the 5 minute drive would also be doable by bike
- it was JUST remodeled (high quality, as confirmed by our agent when we saw it who pointed out signs of good quality work, new roof, new furnace, new paint, new kitchen, cleaned up everything) so it's at the top end of price for the entire neighborhood
- it's now the nicest house for a few blocks. The neighborhood isn't rough but you can tell some people don't put the time into their homes. Moss and algae (?) growing on the roof or siding, junk in back yards, eye sores like giant two story garages that look out of place, junk in windows, lack of landscaping. Not every house looked like that but many did. We also saw the place on a wet gray winter day so I'm sure that didn't help. No other homes for sale and only a few recently updated but not full renovations and were priced lower than this one.

This place is gorgeous. Its basically like buying a new home. But with good 1950s bones. Our agent thinks there's room to negotiate but it will still be at the way top end for the neighborhood.

Bad idea? Walk away? Any words of wisdom or experience? I can share more around price per square foot and comparable recent sales if that helps.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 06:42:06 AM by HovEratoTo »

Another Reader

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Re: The best house on the block - face punches welcome
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2018, 07:01:17 AM »
Generally this is a bad idea.  As the house ages, the value reverts to the mean.  The neighbors that don't keep up their houses will still be there.  Poor maintenance generally correlates with bad schools.  Unless this neighborhood is becoming the new target for gentrification, I would not buy there, especially not the over-improved property.

pbkmaine

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Re: The best house on the block - face punches welcome
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2018, 08:14:56 AM »
How long do you plan to stay in this house? If you have or plan to have children AND send them to public school, how good is the school district? If this is a forever house, it’s not so important that it’s a good investment. It’s just a place to live.

Rubic

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Re: The best house on the block - face punches welcome
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2018, 09:00:13 AM »
Tl;Dr I fell in love with the best house in a tired neighborhood and should probably be talked out of it?

Both times I purchased my home (once a house, then years later a condo), I bought
the cheapest property in the nicest location which made sense for my circumstances.

I think you'll come out way ahead with this strategy.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: The best house on the block - face punches welcome
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2018, 09:34:10 AM »
Some things you can change and some things you can't.  Schools, neighbours and distance from shopping can change but not by you.  You have no control over these elements.  Good neighbours can move away but so can bad ones.  A neighbourhood can also improve but there has to be potential drivers to make that happen.  Are there lots of artist living in the area?  Artist find spaces that have potential and then everyone sees what they see and moves in with their higher incomes and the area gentrifies and the artists can no longer afford it. 
Our second house was on the wrong edge of a good neighbourhood.  We had to move finally because we couldn't stand it.  No friends for the kids to play with on the street, only one set for us.  Long walk to school - 200m shy of the busing distance.  Close to the main street and all the traffic noise.  Lots of partying happening around us. 
Buy a house with good bones that has not been neglected exactly where you want to live.  Compromise on the decorating and the fixtures - change that stuff as you can afford to. 
Poor sighting on the lot - don't buy it.  Bad layout - don't buy it. Not near to where you want to be - don't buy it.  Best house on the block - don't buy it. 

HovEratoTo

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Re: The best house on the block - face punches welcome
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2018, 07:01:59 PM »
Thanks all, this seems to confirm what we were thinking - not worth it. The schools are actually very good - Godwin is one of the top high schools in the Richmond area, and the elementary and middle rank highly, too. I don't know if this neighborhood is actively being gentrified, it's more in the 'burbs and a lot of the movement in Richmond is towards the city and parts like Church Hill, Northside, the Fan, and others. I'm sure the area would hold it's value given the good schools and affordable neighborhoods, but it would be a gamble as to whether other houses in this specific area would see more improvement in the next 5-10 years.

The reality is, I don't want us to stretch ourselves for something that may or may not be long-term for us. May be different if it were my dream location and/or I knew we would likely stay 15+ years. But right now there are some unknowns for us and that probably makes this a bad choice.

Appreciate the sense-talking. Back to Zillow, I guess :)

archben82

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Re: The best house on the block - face punches welcome
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2018, 02:44:34 PM »
I agree with most everything that's been said to this point.  Living in Richmond too I know how little supply there can be at times, so I would wait until spring when the spigot usually opens up and more houses come on the market.

Telecaster

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Re: The best house on the block - face punches welcome
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2018, 03:20:01 PM »
Never fall in love with something that doesn't love you back. 

Penelope Vandergast

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Re: The best house on the block - face punches welcome
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2018, 08:47:05 AM »
There is always another house. And recently remodeled is not a unique feature -- you can that in many many places. If the location isn't excellent for your needs, then skip it.

cosine88

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Re: The best house on the block - face punches welcome
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2018, 09:05:36 PM »
You're on a forum dedicated to frugality and you're asking people to sign off on purchasing your first HOUSE based on how "cute" it is?

Everyone wants a beautiful first house. Everyone, except for the investor with a brain who is able to see that a 6% ROI is more important than 3% ROI with a pretty face. Remember this is your FIRST home. Not your only home or retirement home, or even the home you might raise your kids in.

The best deal is always the crappiest house in the nicest neighborhood. You're trying to buy the nicest house in the crappiest neighborhood! I would facepunch you, then help you back up so I could facepunch you again.

HovEratoTo

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Re: The best house on the block - face punches welcome
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2018, 09:22:39 AM »
You're on a forum dedicated to frugality and you're asking people to sign off on purchasing your first HOUSE based on how "cute" it is?

Everyone wants a beautiful first house. Everyone, except for the investor with a brain who is able to see that a 6% ROI is more important than 3% ROI with a pretty face. Remember this is your FIRST home. Not your only home or retirement home, or even the home you might raise your kids in.

The best deal is always the crappiest house in the nicest neighborhood. You're trying to buy the nicest house in the crappiest neighborhood! I would facepunch you, then help you back up so I could facepunch you again.

Lol point taken. That's why I came to you guys! It's easy to get caught up in the emotions of it. Thanks for strengthening our resolve - there are plenty of options out there that will fit our needs. And we can rent if the right house doesn't show up at first.