Sunday, February 24, 2008

House part II

I've seen more than 50 houses now and my choices still haven't clarified themselves, but I'm getting closer to narrowing in what I like.

* First, is it worth buying new construction in a new neighborhood that's surrounding by shady surroundings? I drove through there last night and was happy to see a public library right across the street from the new subdivision and I was reassured by the presence of a gigantic FBI building and two churches. But other than that, the street's main residences are crumbling apartment complexes. I looked up the rent on them and they're $400/unit. There are no nearby convenience stores that don't have bars on the window. I realize that if I buy in this neighborhood, which has everything I want except location, I will pretty much hang out in my house because there is nowhere -- not even a McDonald's -- to eat or go that looks remotely safe.

* Second, is it worth buying a fixer upper in an older, established neighborhood that is becoming gentrified? Lots of new construction, lots of renovations and remodeling in this neighborhood and a new Starbucks in process of being built. In this case, I'd be buying a hobby not a house, and it could turn into a money pit. But at the same time, I'd be in a house that will appreciate probably at a better and faster rate than the new construction.

I have pretty much ruled out townhomes, and anything that looks too contemporary. I like Victorian architecture, but barring that, I don't want anything that looks too dated on the outside or that appeals to very specific tastes, such as metal exteriors.

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