Profile picture for GreenMomma

Perfect house, bad neighborhood.

We have been looking for a house for about a year. Due to limited income our pre-approval amount is only around $76,000 and there aren't a lot of options in that price range. We finally found a house that we LOVE, it has everything we wanted! Literally we are in love with this house. It has the right amount of bedrooms and bathrooms, and a huge fenced yard for our kids! The yard is really important to us because we don't have anywhere for our kids to play outside at our current apartment. Another bonus is that our mortgage would be quite a bit cheaper than our rent and we would be saving money!

The only problem is that the neighborhood is a little sketchy. There are quite a few registered sex offenders within a mile radius of the house (Almost 20 of them), the closest being about 2 blocks away. We are a young family with 2 small children and my husband works nights and is school during the day, so he's not around a lot. 

So what do we do? Buy the house that we have been dreaming of despite the neighborhood, or keep renting? We are so torn about what to do. HELP!
  • January 31 2013 - Idaho Falls
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Answers (12)

Profile picture for Outer Banks N C
Tough call.
  • January 31 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
In a metropolitan area, it is basically impossible to not have registered sex offenders within a mile.  Sexual predators cross all socio-economic boundaries unfortunately.  If that is the only issue for defining "neighborhood is a little sketchy", I'd go for it.     Look at the religious members, scout leaders etc who've been charged. If there are other factors, a family loving their home and bringing it up a notch can help contribute to positive neighborhood change.
  • January 31 2013
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keep renting and saving so you can purchase with cash or conventional financing which will open up more buying options.
  • January 31 2013
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The problem is "a little sketchy" is a totally subjective term  What you think is "sketchy" may be very good for some others.

Do a bit more research with regard to the future prospects of the neighborhood.  Is it an area that is revitalizing or going the other way? Other than cost what is attracting you to the area? Are there other areas that would better suit your needs?

Remember in real estate, the top 3 rules always apply, Location, Location, Location.
  • January 31 2013
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
That is a personal decision, sorry cannot advice. 
  • January 31 2013
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My problem with sex offender registries is that they don't really address the rest of the story.  If a 18 year old boy who has been dating the same girl since elementary school get caught having sex and she is 17 that could be statutory rape. That is way different than the child predators that exist yet they show up on the same list.

I know one elderly man with diabetes and poor bladder control that was arrested years ago as a sex offender for taking a pee behind a tree and a cop claims to have seen his "privates" so he is on the list.

I don't really approve of publishing the lists since according to our penal system, these people have done the time for their crime(s) and were released  accordingly.  If we had lists for all criminals (past and present) in our communities, it would probably scare everyone to death!

One thing you might consider is some of the grant money programs and first time home buyer options that might help you qualify for more of a loan without increasing your monthly payments.

Hope this helps!
Jim
  • January 31 2013
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As stated before Location, Location, Location.  You can always change the house but cannot change the location.  If you have concerns now, how will they be alleviated?  Call the local police and ask how many times officers are called to your area?  I always tell my buyers if this house doesn't work, you will thank me that you found a better one!  Spring is not that far away and I think the flood gates will open with more listings!  Good luck!
  • January 31 2013
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Sounds like this might be your first home? Your first home is rarely one's dream home.

If you are uncomfortable with that neighborhood, I would suggest deciding what features of the home you can compromise on elsewhere and look into other options. While you can't change the location or the neighborhood, it may be that another home in your price range can be improved to better fit your lifestyle over time.

I would advise you should be looking for a home that you can stay in for at least 5-7 years. Interest rates are just staring to bump up a tick, and according to the Mortgage Lenders Association they could increase in 2013 as much as a full point. That could further affect a home's affordability for you later in the year.

Our local market appears to be at the bottom right now, as far as pricing. While likely prices won't increase dramatically quickly, combined with interest rates it sounds like this might be your window to homeownership. Good luck!
  • February 01 2013
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Location ..location..location is one of the motivting factors in real estate
  • February 01 2013
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Profile picture for remilligan
Buy the house, get a gun. Actually in all seriousness, it's always a bad idea to buy the best home in a neighborhood. When it comes around that it is time for you to liquidate the asset, your future buyers will be thinking the very same thing! Keep looking and keep your chin up, there will be another!
  • February 01 2013
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If you have a buyer's agent who knows you enough to advise and whom you know enough to trust, you have a better resource to brainstorm your options than a public forum. A decisions like this is very individual and personal, what could be right for one person could be wrong for another.

I always choose better neighborhood, rather than better house. A house can be fixed eventually if one cannot afford it at the moment. The neighborhood is much harder to fix and may not be within control of one individual or family...

Hope you have or will find yourself a good buyer's agent who can advise you properly. Good luck!
  • February 23 2013
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First and foremost, you have to decide what your comfort level is in this neighborhood. No matter what a good deal it is, no matter how much money you're saving, no matter how much you love the home, decide if you will feel comfortable living there or is it going to cause more stress than it's worth.

If you have questions about the neighborhood, I suggest calling the local police department and you may even want to talk to an officer on the sex offender's desk to get more information on these sex offenders.

From a real estate perspective, you can always fix somthing in a house, but you can't fix the location. If you have conerns when you buy the property, then other buyers will have the same concerns when you are selling the property (unless it's an up and coming area that you think will improve over time).

I wish you the best of luck.

  • February 23 2013
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