I'm at dilemma stage, and have narrowed down the type of home I want to buy to three types.
Type 1: A rehab in Bel-Air/Edison: I've found several nice rehabs in the Bel-Air/Edison area that I really like. Many have all new appliances and look really, really nice. They are generally two bedrooms, which is a little small (it would prevent a roommate, as I like to have an office), but, let's face it, it's big enough for a single guy. They all have a yard and they all are in quiet neighborhoods; in fact, it's the same neighborhood I live in now. I have found about five that I would love to live in, and they range in price from $124-$139. My favorite is the cheapest, on Raymonn Ave, and it's my favorite because of this great sun porch in the back that overlooks a field. I can definitely see living there
Type 2: An old fixer-upper in Lauraville: I've also seen several big, distinctive, and old houses in the Lauraville area. Most of them seem decorated by people who thought wood paneling was really cool, even on the main level, and who loved the tackiest kind of wallpaper imaginable. But they have potential to be really cool houses, and probably equal potential to be money pits. They're too big for me, for the most part, but I like them. All the ones in my price range need a lot of work.
Both Lauraville and Bel-Air/Edison are the same to me. I guess that Lauraville is probably a better place for resale value - maybe - but they're both places for families. I'm fine with that, but there's not much of a city living feel to it. Still, both are about ten minutes from everything I'd want to get to.
Type 3: A house in Ednor Gardens: I've also been looking in Ednor Gardens. I like this area a lot, but everyone who is selling a house there is pretty flaky. I looked at a nice place on Yolonda today, but it was $139,900, and, while that's in my price range, it had quite a bit of work to do. It's hard to justify buying that place, which would probably take $20,000 of work to make liveable, when there are places for $120,000 that are much nicer in Bel-Air/Edison. I know... location, location, location. But it's not like Ednor Gardens is a hip place where you can walk to places. Not really, at least.
All of the other houses in Ednor Gardens are similar, so far. They seem overpriced or have too many issues. I saw a really great rehab on 35th Street, but the neighbors were sloppy and the house had some design issues; plus, it was the most expensive house I've looked at yet ($149,900). I saw a great rehab on Melville that I could definitely see myself living in, but its price ($140K) seemed high for the block (which wasn't as nice as the blocks in Bel-Air/Edison). I think I'd have the most expensive house on the block, which is an issue, too, of course. There are a bunch of houses for sale on Melville right now, but every other one seems to have flaky owners or real estate agents.
The Wild Card: Today, sort of on a whim, I visited a house at 26th and Guilford. It was a rehab where the owner ran out of money in the middle of it. It was beautiful. But it also had no furnace, no kitchen, and no toilets. It seems like all the plumbing was complete, and all the electricity, and the floors and walls looked great. Spacious, with a little yard. A lot of the houses on the block are valued at over $200K, and this was $129K. I could probably offer $110K or so, and put $30K in and have a beautiful place. That's a different type of mortgage, though, and I'm thinking I have to re-think my first type of mortgage anyway (my housing counselor says to get a CDA mortgage, and MECU does not offer one). Anyhow, this house is definitely "city living," in a way that I would imagine it.
So, in other words, I have no idea, and my epic indecisiveness is rearing its ugly head. It's alright, though; I'm thinking hard and I think and hope I'll be ready to start making offers by the end of next week.
Throwing additional wrenches into the whole deal is the stimulus package, which seems to give first-time homebuyers a huge tax credit for this year, but I can't quite confirm whether I should wait until April 8th or not, which is another rumor I've heard (that the program starts on 4/8).
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