Finding the right home in an unexpected place
Here's his tale:
The most important thing I learned from this real estate market is that I had to adjust my preconceived notions about where I would be happy living. At the beginning of our house hunt (we have seriously been looking for more than 3 years), we were only willing to live in the tonier parts of 21210, 21212.
But we found that the sellers in those areas were--comparatively--the most unrealistic about price. I can't begin to describe the poor quality of the homes for which the owners wanted [more than] $230 [per square foot]--and all of them would have required at least $50,000 in repairs (not upgrades--repairs).
And of course, all of those neighborhoods are also car dependent--which I view as a negative. (Having lived in Mount Vernon for the past five years, I am not willing to give up my walking lifestyle.)
So where did they go instead?
After we re-evaluated our options and made ourselves open to looking in other neighborhoods, we found the perfect house for us. We are now living in what is sometimes referred to as Little Lithuania (i.e., northeast Pigtown) and we love our house.
He says he bought the house for "less than $100 per square foot--plus a two-car garage, all downtown and convenient to work."
I've often heard buyers say they didn't end up moving to their first-choice neighborhood because it was too pricey for their budget. What intrigued me about John's story is that he's talking instead about value, how much per square foot and what sort of shape those square feet were in. Also, he started off looking in upscale areas and ended up happily buying in a neighborhood that's usually dubbed "transitional."
What a property is worth has at least something to do with all the things around said property. But even in an exclusive neighborhood, there's such a thing as an asking price that will make buyers say "no thanks."
Have any of you switched gears and bought in a neighborhood that -- for whatever reason -- you weren't considering at first? What changed your mind?
I'm always interested to hear your home stories, by the way -- buying, selling and living-in. Thanks, John, for sharing yours.