My husband and I are currently maxing out our budget living in a good area in a good city, in an apartment two bedrooms too small (two small kids in one room, one infant in ours). No yard. 900 square feet. We came to this city for schools and safety and we can maintain here, but we can't save.
We recently realized that although we have an income of $55,000 in a good year (hubby is tenured, so should be stable) we actually can get a loan for a home… but we like the safety of staying under budget, so don’t want to spend 150,000. Homes in the area we are in, $150k will get you an 1100 square foot reno. Can’t stay here.
By mistake, I added a home for our realtor to show for price and square feet (100k, 1800 sq ft) in an adjacent city that we previously said we weren't interested in living. It was the only house we agreed on. We have two months to find and close on a home or else we have to sign a year lease or go month to month (400 surcharge per month) where we are. Hubby submitted verbal offer.
Then I went back later and looked at the neighborhood. So I’m not sure and need advice.
Pro: We could pay this house off in 6 or 7 years.
We could pay down and closing without touching a credit card, all appliances (of which we currently own a microwave) transfer.
The home has been entirely remodeled, and appears brand new. All new appliances, all new cabinets, paint, trim, all bath cabinets and fixtures and windows new, totally move-in ready (have not yet had an inspection of course).
One street over from elementary and middle school.
THE SCHOOL ITSELF (this is huge. When my husband and I said we both liked the house, he immediately called the school district and spoke to the special education director. We have two special needs kids, one with a life threatening medical need, and all the problems we are experiencing at our current school re: nursing care and education will not be a problem at this school, so we are now seriously committed to this city whether or not we get this house)
School is ranked highly (8) and flanked by two districts that are pitiful (ranked 2/10 and embroiled in constant legal battles)
4 huge bedrooms, so room to grow if we stayed longer than 5-7 years.
Seller came down to 96k. Last year's tax appraisal was 111k.
The mortgage will be lower than our apartment rent, even with PMI. We can't rent in this city as apartments are more costly than in our current city (the city does not permit apartments in town).
Crime rate in the neighborhood, as well as the entire city, is lower than surrounding cities. Police department is two blocks over.
Cons: The neighborhood is awful looking. The homes are small, built late 80s early 90s so all brick, but very close together, small yards, no trees. The neighbors all have toys, cars on blocks, actual diaper etc littering their yards. It’s an eyesore.
The school is on one side, but both other sides are flanked by low rent housing. It looks worse than even the area we would be in. This house is the first house when you enter the neighborhood, so all you see is the home at first, but anyone driving around may have second thoughts… like me 😀
the home doesn’t have curb appeal but isn't run down in any way. Being that the inside is all redone, it could very well be the “nicest home in the neighborhood” which is good for me living in it, bad for me selling it.
8 years ago, we had a hurricane that came and just stayed. The entire city flooded, had never happened before in my 28 years… homes and businesses in the majority of this city took on as much as 16 feet of water. Has not happened since, but I expect there to be significant changes in insurance needs and of course it could happen again.
The seller came down in price. For this small city, the homes are generally 30-80k higher than this and smaller/older. No other homes were for sale in this exact neighborhood though, so I don't know what they would go for.
Which thoughts should I give most credence to? What am I not thinking about?
More real estate tips at Program Realty Wix site