Profile picture for mariempasco

I'm a first time home buyer. Nicer house, or Nicer town?

I could get a nicer house in my price range in a cute neighborhood but not so great schools.  Which would mean that we would have to move in about 5 years so that my son could go to a good school.  Or, we could buy a house that would need some updates in the town that we want to live in for the schools.  Would it be better to go just go ahead and move into that town into a house that we don't like as much?  
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March 11 - Birmingham
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I'd buy in the nicer town. It means that you don't have to move when your kids start school. Selling and moving is expensive so it saves you money too. As the saying goes, it's about location, location, location.

I don't hear too many people complain about living in a nicer town, but many buyers get dissatisfied when they buy the house they love, in a town they don't like as much. That feeling tends to get worse over time.
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March 11
This is a great question! Many potential buyers ask similar questions. Questions to ask yourself:

- Do I feel safe in this neighborhood?
- Do I have the time and/or money to make significant improvements on the house?
- Am I okay with moving in 5 years? Some people love moving and others hate it.
- Do I feel a good positive energy when I walk in the house?

There are many questions to ask yourself before make this decision. As a professional Real Estate salesperson, I can only advice you to go with what you feel is right for you.

Hope this helped.

Dania Hernandez
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March 11
Great article in the Wall Street Journal on exactly this topic! Great Schools have always and will always be a draw that will make a certain area more competitive than the rest. As schooling becomes even more of a priority with parents fighting to get into the top school districts so that their children remain competitive, housing prices in such neighborhoods will escalate.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704009804575308951902854896

http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/azfactcheck/fact-story.php?id=477
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March 11
Profile picture for user6064703
I certainly agree that good schools raise property values.  I just don't know that they raise the RATE at which property values increase on a yearly basis.
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March 11
I agree.  Go for the neighborhood you love and the schools you want your son to go to in the future.  Too many times I hear clients go for the biggest home for the money but in an area that is to far from work, doesn't have the schools they like then they are sorry quickly afterward.  You got the right idea go for it!

Connie
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March 11
Profile picture for sunnyview
There is some information on how buyers look at schools when they choose a house. In my area, I see little correlation between house prices in the "best testing" elementary/middle school vs a decent performing school in areas of less expensive houses.

However, I see more of a price trend in my area for the top rated high school over the high school with fewer AP offerings even for house with the exact same floor plan, age and original builder. In my area, buyers seek out and pay more by high school area for houses starting at the median and up. While at the median and below, I see almost no effect between school area and prices.

You are right. The relationship between school quality and house prices is nonlinear so it is hard to say how much a good school adds or doesn't. However, if you have to move to seek a better school in 5 years it may be cheaper to buy where you'll end up so you can avoid the commission, loan and relocation costs on a repurchase.
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March 11
Profile picture for user6064703
Despite having heard dozens of realtors make the claim, I have yet to see evidence that neighborhoods with good school districts appreciate at a greater rate than neighborhoods with bad school districts.  Sure, they're more expensive, but that doesn't mean they necessarily appreciate at a greater rate.

It may be a true claim, but I haven't seen evidence of it.

Again, there are too many variables here, and those who are giving you an A or B answer are doing so irresponsibly.
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March 11
Your town and community will be very important and unlike a home are hard to change. There are trade offs but in the end, you'll need to weigh this out. Personally, I would recommend lean towards the community, especially with schools being of importance to you.
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March 11
I am a mom of two children who made the mistake of moving into the "cute" town that I thought would be great to me live in; however, then I had to  move for the school factor. Guess what? Move to the not so nice town to be in the great schools. If you do not have cash for improvement right away, then begin saving it and do the improvements. Make a list of the items that would make it a wonderful house for your family, and begin doing the things on the list that you can do yourself (such as painting, putting up new window coverings, adding new plants to the yard). Your children are making friends now, and those friendships make school easier for them. Additionally, the value of the house in the neighborhood, where the schools are considered top notch, will go up higher in value and generally quicker than the homes located in a nice neighborhood but with so-so schools. Remember, you are not the only parent that is considering their childrens fate in regards to the school system. By the time, you would decide to purchase the home in 5 years, you may be priced out of that "good school" district. I have watched this happen over and over because the neighborhood is eventually discovered by other parents.
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March 11


I'm a believer in the "nice town" purchase and took this route myself, BUT there are many variables to consider. Is improving the home in the nice town in your budget? Are you able to tolerate an older kitchen and baths or would renovating be too disruptive to your family? Would family vacations be sacrificed, as well as new furniture too big of a luxury? When I took the "nice town route" my budget was a challenge and it was worth it. It's not a good strategy for everyone. Let your instincts be your guide. Below are two bullet points to consider:

... interest rates and home prices in the future. 

.....You many want to consider buying a home that needs improvements to build value so that  when you sell in 5 years you have a larger down payment for a nicer home.

Good luck!

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March 11
It is a little too complex to make that decision based on the limited information you have given us, but...

I still believe the old adage that the 3 most important factors in Real Estate are - Location, Location, Location.
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March 11
If it were me, I'd also buy in the nicer town. You can always update a home to make it what you want, but you can't easily change the location! (You can pay to have a house moved but why would you want to incur that expense?) 
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March 11
Profile picture for user6064703
There are too many variables for anyone to give you a useful answer.  It depends on how much nicer the town is and the direction both towns are headed.  I would buy whichever one you believe is giving you a better value relative to the market.

Ceteris Paribus, I'd buy in the nicer location.  However, bad deals exist in great locations as well.
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March 11
 
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