Urban planning community | #theplannerlife

Closed thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 41

Thread: Living in suburbia because you *have* to, not because you *want to*:

  1. #1
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    739

    Living in suburbia because you *have* to, not because you *want to*:

    We are buying a house that is in a somewhat suburban area just inside the city limits, the only reason being that it's all we can afford......

    As much as I am for high density, traditional neighborhoods and new urbanism, I am going to be moving to one of those "mass-produced" neighborhoods very soon. The neighborhood is still inside the city limits and has a pretty cool design, but it's much farther away from downtown than I would like to be. The hard fact is, though, that we simply can't afford to buy a house in the central part of the city. They are WAY too expensive now! The only house we could afford within the city limits is the new one we're getting (and another, smaller one that isn't much closer). Everything else is in the suburbs.

    I think it's unfair that the average, middle class citizen cannot afford to live in the city anymore. I know that lots of families move out to the suburbs because they want to but I never thought about those of us who go there out of necessity... because that's where the only affordable housing exists (that isn't the ghetto anyway).

    I know that many American cities have yet to be gentrified and the downtown areas are extremely cheap to live in, but most of them are changing this. The city I live in, Austin, Texas, has always had a thriving downtown area and the population of the city is relatively young (average age is only 29). Downtown and the central neighborhoods are extremely popular and have become quite expensive. There is a great deal of gentrification going on in the historic areas as well. The only cheaper areas are the East side but these neighborhoods are pretty run down in most areas and I would not feel very comfortable in them. It's not that they are very unsafe or anything but I would be looked at as an "outsider" being that I'm white. There has been a lot of struggle in that area due to the long-term residents opposing "all these white people moving in and increasing the property values to unaffordable levels".

    We have an apartment in a neighborhood now that is the prime example of what a real neighborhood should be like. Mixed densities, locally owned shops, historic homes that were built in the 1930's-1940's, lots of pedestrian activity and easy access to mass transit. A very tiny home in this area, though, would cost close to $300,000... and that's just for one that needs a lot of work. One that's been restored would be even more. The area we're moving to will let us get a nice sized house for half that price. I will be fairly close to the nearest bus stop but probably not walking distance (maybe biking distance). My commute downtown will be about 25-30 minutes in peak traffic. I know I shouldn't complain too much as most people have worse commutes than this, but I'd much rather be able to walk downtown in 15 minutes like I can now. This, however, is completely out of the question. I simply am not wealthy enough to buy one of those expensive homes. Even the downtown condos (which are extremely nice) cost $3-400,000 for a 1-bedroom.

    I don't want to be out in B.F.E., I don't want to be car-dependant, I don't want to be forced to shop at big box places...... but what choice do I have? We're making the best of what we can. It will be a nice house and a nice place to live but it is not a place I'd want to live more than a few years.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Cirrus's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2003
    Location
    DC / Arlington
    Posts
    299
    Why do you have to live in a *house*?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    739
    Quote Originally posted by Cirrus
    Why do you have to live in a *house*?
    Need the space for our pets, etc. We're not going for a huge one... just one that's "big enough". Also, it is good for me to have a small yard of some sort... not a big one, just some of one. I also like the privacy. You have no privacy in an apartment building and you can hear everything everyone else is doing whether you want to or not. A larger condo would probably be ok but they are usually more expensive than a house. Also, I don't want to rent for the rest of my life... it's a waste of money. I want to own my own home... something I see a return for from my investment. I wish there was affordable single-family housing in the central areas still. Housing designed intelligently, making the most of available space instead of wasting it. Some neat row houses or lots setup in a gridded street layout. You know.. the traditional neighborhood.

  4. #4
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,966
    Quote Originally posted by Cirrus
    Why do you have to live in a *house*?

    You're probably not familiar with the Austin market, although it bears some similarities in cost to the DC metro area (but with exceptionally horrible public transit). Rents/Condo prices are nosebleed high in downtown Austin and stay high until you are about 5-6 miles from downtown. I think in his case, he has a dog that needs a small area to stay in while they are at work. I also think this house purchase is intended to be an investment that they can profit from, getting them that much closer to their goal of a historic victorian in Hyde Park (Austin) or something. He did manage to stay in the Austin city limits, which is an achievement by itself.

    Sometimes we have to make sacrifices, especially in a car-dependent state like Texas.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  5. #5
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    9,911
    Well, I currently live in the "suburbia", granted it's early 20th century streetcar suburbia (12-20 du/acre; built out pre-1930) with a commuter rail line, and two EL lines running the width of the muni. and I live only about 9 miles from downtown Chicago..though 9 miles is practically in downtown in relation to the size of Chicago Metro area.

    We chose it because it is nice and urban but still affords one a yard, and the transit access is quite good.

    but I work in the 2nd/3rd ring post-WWII suburbs, which translates to a 30 mile one-way commute. The only reason I would move to auto suburbia would be to dramatically shorten or end my commute (which may happen with the current price of gas). Luckily, the muni. I work for has a relatively "urban" downtown area, so it wouldn't be too bad.

    With the average house prices in Chicagoland, it's hard to get a decent place anywhere on just my one income. Once my wife starts working, we will surely be able to afford where we are currently, which is where we want to stay anyhow.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by Cirrus
    Why do you have to live in a *house*?

    Everyone has a reason for living where they do. Everyone has to make tradeoffs. Afterall, very few people can afford that one large lot single family home in the middle of a dense downtown neighborhood. So jread is making choices, and does not "have to" move to suburbs, but chooses to. Jread could have chosen other options, live in a condo building and hire a dog walker during the day. Live in a multi-ethnic neighborhood or in a majority minority neighborhood (lots of Black and Hispanic folk live in majority White neighborhoods). The privacy argument is a bit much. We live in a 7 unit building. Yes, I know that my downstairs neighbors are gettin married - we saw them opening up RSVPs and jumping up and down in excitement over some one deciding to attend. But we don't know much more about them then their names. Again, where one lives is much more a matter of personal preference than most people want to admit.

    I want to make it clear that I am not questioning Jread's priorities. People should feel free to live where they find the best environment for them. What is ultimately important is that we have enough choices around so everyone can find some type of housing (though affordability is a major problem in a lot of places).
    Last edited by Gotta Speakup; 18 Aug 2005 at 2:28 PM.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,235
    Like others have said, you don't have to do anything.

    One could just as easily say "I want to live in an urban environment but I'm afraid of the ethnic people," or "I don't like the schools," or "parking is too difficult" or any other of a million reasons. The reality is that we all have a set of priorities and if living in the city is your top priority you'll make it happen.

    If there's some other priority you have that's more important to you, personally, and it excludes the possibility of living in the city, then it won't happen. But don't delude yourself into thinking that you have to live in suburbia like somebody's holding a gun to your head.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Memphis TN
    Posts
    10

    Have to?

    I dont buy it. You are making a choice. You are working very hard to convince your self that you cant find any way arround it. This saddens me because you sound like someone that hates the burbs. If thats true then why are you becoming one of the sheep? As the saying goes "There is more than one way to skin a cat". When I was faced with a simillar dilema I figured out a way to get it all and still be loyal to my convictions. Instead of moving into a downtown loft and paying $400,000 I purchased three properties just walking distance to the trolley and downtown for $170,000. The area is an old industrial area that is next for development. We did cosmetic work on one building and resold for $150,000. I am currently renovating the other building for 2 live work spaces and plan to devlope condos on the lot. Yes the area was kind of bleek 5 years ago. Now it is gaining momentum and the area is quickly being developed. It is 300 yards from a park a block from SUN studio and the medical district is developing into the 100s of millions just a few blocks away. We have lived in an apartment across the street for the past five years. You do have to make some trade offs but dont give up on your convictions. Also a house is not a very good investment to me. To me a good investment makes you money it doesnt eat it. Good luck and please dont cop out or we will never stop the sprawl.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Capital District, Albany, New York
    Posts
    74
    What I can't afford is to buy an urban house which (based upon historical trends in my area, anyway) is very likely to slowly decrease in value over time barring some surprising intervention.

    In addition, being in a smallish midsized city, even if I live downtown I would still live a surburban lifestyle. Almost nothing is within walking distance so you drive everywhere anyway.

    Admittedly neither of these reasons is why I will be choosing not to live in the city.

    The main disadvantage I will likely suffer when moving out to the suburbs will be having to stomach such an ugly house (particularly the exterior) but given the many advantages, financial and otherwise, this isn't so much of a price to pay even to an architect.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Heaven or Las Vegas
    Posts
    916
    So many metro real estate markets are grossly overvalued now, at least by some accounts. I'm waiting for a market correction before I buy again. I bet you wish you bought in Austin just a few years ago.

    Regarding having to live in a house, there are so many tax advantages to owning. I can understand read for not wanting to rent anymore, and the preference for a house is very ingrained in our society. But it snowballs. You get a house with a yard for your dog. Then you worry about the dog being lonely while you're not home, so you get another dog. This makes more wear and tear on the yard and you soon find you have no grass left. So you decide you need a house with a bigger yard so you can have an area for the dogs and an area for your recreation that can be kept nice. Then kids come along, and they need toys, bikes, sandboxes, and room to store all that stuff. You need tools to maintain it all. Want to save money by doing renovations yourself? Then go for the table saw and miter saw and a workbench. There goes half the garage. Time for a 2 or 3 car garage. Can't leave the cars out in that Texas heat. Speaking of heat, how about a pool for relief from it. Need a big yard for that, but it will be fun. Won't have to mix with the kids at the community pool...and on it goes.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  11. #11

    Not exactly

    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    You're probably not familiar with the Austin market, although it bears some similarities in cost to the DC metro area (but with exceptionally horrible public transit). Rents/Condo prices are nosebleed high in downtown Austin and stay high until you are about 5-6 miles from downtown. I think in his case, he has a dog that needs a small area to stay in while they are at work. I also think this house purchase is intended to be an investment that they can profit from, getting them that much closer to their goal of a historic victorian in Hyde Park (Austin) or something. He did manage to stay in the Austin city limits, which is an achievement by itself.

    Sometimes we have to make sacrifices, especially in a car-dependent state like Texas.
    SR,

    I bought a 2 bedroom condo with loft in Clarksville (right across from Fresh Plus) in 1997 for $96K. It might go for $125K today. It's been rented out as a 3-bedroom for a while, and is now being rented as a 2-bedroom for $1100/month.

    Most people have no idea how many cheap condos there are in and around the center-city. There's also a ton of cheap ones where my house is (north university).

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ChevyChaseDC's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    190
    On owning versus renting:

    I've come to understand recently, amid all the hoopla about the real estate boom (or bubble, depending on your point of view), that the bubble is most intense in expensive metros like DC. (Is Austin the same way? I don't know for sure, but would be inclined to believe it's the most expensive in Texas). Along with that, I've come to understand that renting may actually be a better choice for many than buying, simply because prices are so inflated in these places, and that the only reason people are paying such high house prices is because they believe they're going to make money on their investment because the price will keep rising. The differential between rentals and mortgages has been increasing, and renting seems to be an increasingly attractive option...in that it may actually be a better financial decision to "throw your money away" toward rent, which tends not to rise anywhere near as quickly as real estate prices, until *after* some "corrections" to the housing bubble are made, and buying a home becomes a more secure investment some time in the future when the volatility is gone. Why spend so much on a mortgage if the value of your home will likely stagnate or decrease in the coming years? It's hard to believe, but you could actually be better off renting in these turbulent times.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    7,061
    Quote Originally posted by jread
    Thoughts?
    You are probably asking this too late in the process to have any real hope of putting a stop to it and doing something else. If you haven't actually signed anything, it is not necessarily "too late" but your girlfriend has her heart set on it, there is psychological momentum, you would look like a fool to put a sudden HALT to the process, etc. And it may not be practical to do something else at this time, even if you were willing to deal with the social fall out.

    You are young and you are going with the flow. Doing something which goes against the grain takes more forethought, more planning, more time, more preparation. If you feel you need to do this right now but really don't LIKE it, then I strongly suggest that while you live there, you talk to Celura about what you REALLY want, research how to make it happen, etc. so that you have some hope of doing something else later -- like the next time you move.

    Good luck.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    739
    Quote Originally posted by doinky
    SR,

    I bought a 2 bedroom condo with loft in Clarksville (right across from Fresh Plus) in 1997 for $96K. It might go for $125K today. It's been rented out as a 3-bedroom for a while, and is now being rented as a 2-bedroom for $1100/month.

    Most people have no idea how many cheap condos there are in and around the center-city. There's also a ton of cheap ones where my house is (north university).
    But what will you do with the kids? How can an entire family live in a small space (without killing each other). Then there is the problem of good schools for them to go to and we know the reputation of A.I.S.D. I don't have children but it's something I have to consider.

    BTW, thanks for the info of pricing in that area. I had no idea there were affordable homes up there. All of my real estate searches turned up absolutely nothing in central Austin that was within our price range.

    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    You are probably asking this too late in the process to have any real hope of putting a stop to it and doing something else. If you haven't actually signed anything, it is not necessarily "too late" but your girlfriend has her heart set on it, there is psychological momentum, you would look like a fool to put a sudden HALT to the process, etc. And it may not be practical to do something else at this time, even if you were willing to deal with the social fall out.

    You are young and you are going with the flow. Doing something which goes against the grain takes more forethought, more planning, more time, more preparation. If you feel you need to do this right now but really don't LIKE it, then I strongly suggest that while you live there, you talk to Celura about what you REALLY want, research how to make it happen, etc. so that you have some hope of doing something else later -- like the next time you move.

    Good luck.
    Yes, there is a lot to this. I cannot decide for both of us where to live. It has to be a mutual agreement and we have to work together on it. She is also a "downtown" person but realizes the problem with costs, not to mention the time and money required to fix up an older home (we're both in school and saving for a wedding, no time for "home improvement"). She HATES the apartment we live in (I'm starting to hate it myself) and it really takes a toll on her happiness. The compromise is that we buy the house we're getting since we both get the things we want within our means right now (she will have her dining room, I will still be in the city limits, etc.) Our plan is to sell out in a few years and hopefully make a little profit off the house, then we will be more financially ready to move closer into the city (higher paying jobs, some equity, done with college, etc.)

    Hopefully it all works out. We can only try.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 18 Aug 2005 at 4:30 PM.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Memphis TN
    Posts
    10

    Kid's dont know

    I have two teenagers that love living in an urban environment. They can walk or trolley to movies, shopping, restaurants, parks etc. We can take the baby and the dog to multiple parks. Its like having a huge yard and someone else has to cut the grass. The space doesnt have to be small. The unit we are building out for ourseleves will be over 5,000 s.f. with enough room in the living room for the kids to ride their bikes. It was a warehouse and we only paid $50,000 for it.You just have to do your homework. The best way I have found is to get off the computer and cruise the streets to see whats out there.

  16. #16
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,966
    Quote Originally posted by doinky
    SR,

    I bought a 2 bedroom condo with loft in Clarksville (right across from Fresh Plus) in 1997 for $96K. It might go for $125K today. It's been rented out as a 3-bedroom for a while, and is now being rented as a 2-bedroom for $1100/month.

    Most people have no idea how many cheap condos there are in and around the center-city. There's also a ton of cheap ones where my house is (north university).
    I wasn't aware of that area. Anytime I've done a real estate search I've come up with nothing even remotely close to that price.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by jread
    Yes, there is a lot to this. I cannot decide for both of us where to live. It has to be a mutual agreement and we have to work together on it. She is also a "downtown" person but realizes the problem with costs, not to mention the time and money required to fix up an older home (we're both in school and saving for a wedding, no time for "home improvement"). She HATES the apartment we live in (I'm starting to hate it myself) and it really takes a toll on her happiness. The compromise is that we buy the house we're getting since we both get the things we want within our means right now (she will have her dining room, I will still be in the city limits, etc.) Our plan is to sell out in a few years and hopefully make a little profit off the house, then we will be more financially ready to move closer into the city (higher paying jobs, some equity, done with college, etc.)

    Hopefully it all works out. We can only try.
    Yes, this is very right on honey.

    Jread and I are moving into this house for several reasons. Don't think for a moment he's not excited in the least, he is. His reservations that he shares with you are those of a true urban planner, one who deeply wants to live in the heart of the city, one who believes truly in dense development. I also believe heartily in all these things. We are both sincerely downtown people. We also have some very real challenges in our living situation that make this choice the most practical and realistic one for us right now. His motivation has been mostly from feeling, and my decision has been one based mostly in what's practical for us.

    1) It's in the Austin city limits. This alone as some have already mentioned is an accomplishment in itself. That was our biggest concern. Had we not found a house we could afford in the city limits, we would have stayed in an apartment until we did.

    2) We are both students. We therefore are not making near the money we will when we graduate. Jread is also pursuing grad school. We can then move back into the neighborhoods we so dearly love and wish to be a part of with ease when we complete our degrees and have better established careers in our fields of study. This naturally affects our money situation as well with books and tuition, which cuts into our house payment budget.

    3) We have a dog and two cats. The apartment we currently live in is the only one we know of that accepts this many animals. There is no way we're splitting up our family, so we have to either stay where we are in the dinky, small, run down place we live in or move into a house. There really is no middle ground. Our dog also needs someplace to get exercise and with our work and school schedules it's getting harder and harder to make time to get him to Town Lake to run around. Our new neighborhood has 2 fenced dog parks, one less than a block from our house.

    4) An investment. A home is a big investment. My mother is a mortgage broker and I hear it every day from her. lol A house is a big investment, a tax break, your own piece of America, not throwing money away on rent, etc. This is just smart business. If nothing else, this neighborhood is just what every other Joe America wants and we can flip this house in 4 years and make a kickazz profit (so long as the economy holds). That's how you make money in real estate.

    5) Our apartment sucks. It didn't when we first moved in, but it does now. We hear every single thing our neighbors do. They walk across the floor above us and we hear it. Any time there's an event downtown they park in our lot and we have nowhere to park. We have no washer or dryer connections, so we have to truck our laundry to the laundry room up and downstairs and across the complex (and it wrinkles by the time you get it hung up). The maintenance team takes over a week or more to come out to fix anything. We pay nearly $200 a month in electric because the place is so old and leaky. We have one bathroom. It's tiny. We have the smallest kitchen in the world. People let their pets pee on the sidewalk, and that stinks. I hate our apartment complex. I hate, hate, hate it.

    6) We truly love the house. We drive over there every single day. We find excuses to take the same pictures over and over again, find new routes to drive around the surrounding areas, check out the local shops, etc. It's only 1 mile from major shopping centers, yet still quiet and set back enough to get a really nice, clean breeze through the neighborhood and be completely peaceful. I just feel really calm and relaxed there. It feels like home. It's everything we wanted and needed from a house, it has our front porch, our formal dining room, our large garden tub in the master and our beautiful corner lot. I'm thrilled!

    I can't wait to move in.

    Quote Originally posted by WILDMAN
    I have two teenagers that love living in an urban environment. They can walk or trolley to movies, shopping, restaurants, parks etc. We can take the baby and the dog to multiple parks. Its like having a huge yard and someone else has to cut the grass. The space doesnt have to be small. The unit we are building out for ourseleves will be over 5,000 s.f. with enough room in the living room for the kids to ride their bikes. It was a warehouse and we only paid $50,000 for it.You just have to do your homework. The best way I have found is to get off the computer and cruise the streets to see whats out there.
    Actually, we've been looking for over a year now. We've done it ALL. We've been online at every site, read every book, subscribed to notifiers, worked with and fired 2 realtors and spoken with many others, and have put many miles on the Saturn driving through countless neighborhoods. We have seen all of Austin there is to see. lol
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 18 Aug 2005 at 6:47 PM. Reason: double reply. please consolidate muntiple replies in ONE post.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally posted by jread
    But what will you do with the kids? How can an entire family live in a small space (without killing each other). Then there is the problem of good schools for them to go to and we know the reputation of A.I.S.D. I don't have children but it's something I have to consider.

    BTW, thanks for the info of pricing in that area. I had no idea there were affordable homes up there. All of my real estate searches turned up absolutely nothing in central Austin that was within our price range.
    Our new house is 1250 square feet, and I have two kids. While in the condo, we were doing fine with the one kid in 1050 square feet.

    Your parents' generation would have thought 1250 was big. You get used to spending more time out of the house; wasting less space on things like big TVs; etc. It's easy, you just have to be willing to go against the suburban grain. There are perks - greater independence for your kids when they're old enough to walk around but not old enough yet to drive; easier to do things outside the house around the neighborhood; etc.

    And AISD's reputation is just fine - don't buy into public-school bashing. I and all of my acquaintances in high-tech ALL went to public schools all over the country, many of which had the same suburban-esteem problems that AISD does (which essentially boil down to being afraid of black people). I haven't as of yet run into ANYBODY in my field who went to a private school, though. Makes you think.

    Quote Originally posted by Celura
    Yes, this is very right on honey.
    1) It's in the Austin city limits. This alone as some have already mentioned is an accomplishment in itself.
    Uh, not really. There's more suburban crap inside the Austin city limits than there is good urban development. And there's a ton of inexpensive suburban crap inside the city limits too.

    Quote Originally posted by Celura
    2) We are both students. We therefore are not making near the money we will when we graduate. Jread is also pursuing grad school. We can then move back into the neighborhoods we so dearly love and wish to be a part of with ease when we complete our degrees and have better established careers in our fields of study. This naturally affects our money situation as well with books and tuition, which cuts into our house payment budget.
    This will not happen. Never. You'll get used to having more space, think you 'need' it, and you won't be able to go back. (I've seen it happen over and over again).

    3) We have a dog and two cats. The apartment we currently live in is the only one we know of that accepts this many animals. There is no way we're splitting up our family, so we have to either stay where we are in the dinky, small, run down place we live in or move into a house. There really is no middle ground. Our dog also needs someplace to get exercise and with our work and school schedules it's getting harder and harder to make time to get him to Town Lake to run around. Our new neighborhood has 2 fenced dog parks, one less than a block from our house.
    A ton of condos in the center-city allow pets (including mine). I sympathize with letting the dog out (that's part of the reason we're in a house instead of a bigger condo), but it wasn't a deal-breaker for us (the BIGGEST reason we had to go to a house is that as soon as you went to 3 full bedrooms in a condo, you ended up pushed up to the high-end market like the Nokonah).

    4) An investment. A home is a big investment. My mother is a mortgage broker and I hear it every day from her. lol A house is a big investment, a tax break, your own piece of America, not throwing money away on rent, etc. This is just smart business. If nothing else, this neighborhood is just what every other Joe America wants and we can flip this house in 4 years and make a kickazz profit (so long as the economy holds). That's how you make money in real estate.
    People don't make money on suburban crap anymore around here. They haven't since 2000 or so. There's too many new houses being built to sell "recent" houses at a profit considering that demand has been stagnant since the dot-com bust. My friends up in Round Rock who used to talk about flipping their houses are all in the same places they were in 1997.

    And, of course, if you believe in Peak Oil, your long-term investment in the suburbs isn't going to be worth squat...

    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    I wasn't aware of that area. Anytime I've done a real estate search I've come up with nothing even remotely close to that price.
    Current results on condos/townhomes in 78703 and 78705 on realtor.com show a ton of units of varying degrees of quality. Cheapest 78703 is $56K for a couple of one-bedrooms on 10th St.; next you jump up to about $90K for a few 1 and 2 bedrooms; after that it's the 120K-150K range for 2 bedrooms west of Mopac, mostly.

    78705 has more cheap stuff, but you'd have to be willing to live around students. There are 8 pages under $175K of all types in that zip code right now; first few pages on or near $100K.

    Note that part of my plan buying the condo back in '96 was to accumulate equity while living in a very cool place. It worked; I used some of that equity for the down payment for the house, and now rent out the condo for income.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 18 Aug 2005 at 6:46 PM. Reason: Triple reply. Please condolidate multiple replies in ONE post.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Memphis TN
    Posts
    10

    Invest early, retire early!

    Quote Originally posted by doinky
    Current results on condos/townhomes in 78703 and 78705 on realtor.com show a ton of units of varying degrees of quality. Cheapest 78703 is $56K for a couple of one-bedrooms on 10th St.; next you jump up to about $90K for a few 1 and 2 bedrooms; after that it's the 120K-150K range for 2 bedrooms west of Mopac, mostly.

    78705 has more cheap stuff, but you'd have to be willing to live around students. There are 8 pages under $175K of all types in that zip code right now; first few pages on or near $100K.

    Note that part of my plan buying the condo back in '96 was to accumulate equity while living in a very cool place. It worked; I used some of that equity for the down payment for the house, and now rent out the condo for income.
    Yes, thats what Im talking about. Im hoping my initial investment will eventually pay for every thing. Then I can be on full time vacation!

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,235
    Quote Originally posted by Celura
    5) Our apartment sucks. It didn't when we first moved in, but it does now. We hear every single thing our neighbors do. They walk across the floor above us and we hear it. Any time there's an event downtown they park in our lot and we have nowhere to park. We have no washer or dryer connections, so we have to truck our laundry to the laundry room up and downstairs and across the complex (and it wrinkles by the time you get it hung up). The maintenance team takes over a week or more to come out to fix anything. We pay nearly $200 a month in electric because the place is so old and leaky. We have one bathroom. It's tiny. We have the smallest kitchen in the world. People let their pets pee on the sidewalk, and that stinks. I hate our apartment complex. I hate, hate, hate it.
    You want some cheese with that whine?

    (At least the jackhammers aren't hurting the baby.)

  21. #21
    Quote Originally posted by doinky
    Uh, not really. There's more suburban crap inside the Austin city limits than there is good urban development. And there's a ton of inexpensive suburban crap inside the city limits too.
    Sorry, I think maybe you missed my point. What I meant is that it was important to jread and I to find a house within the Austin city limits. Also, there is nothing crappy about our neighborhood or any of the surrounding ones. We're quire fortunate to buy where we did as the property values are very good around that area.

    This will not happen. Never. You'll get used to having more space, think you 'need' it, and you won't be able to go back. (I've seen it happen over and over again).
    Never's not in my vocabulary anymore. I used to say I'd never leave my family, and here I am living in Texas with jread. I said I'd never sell my Firehawk, and she's also gone. I also said I'd never live in the suburbs and drive and SUV, but here I am buying a home in a subdivision and driving a Saturn Vue. You'd be surprised at the things you'd say you'll never do that you end up changing your mind about later.

    A ton of condos in the center-city allow pets (including mine). I sympathize with letting the dog out (that's part of the reason we're in a house instead of a bigger condo), but it wasn't a deal-breaker for us (the BIGGEST reason we had to go to a house is that as soon as you went to 3 full bedrooms in a condo, you ended up pushed up to the high-end market like the Nokonah).
    We have a Brittany (a bird dog) and he's crated during the day. We don't feel it's fair to him to not get any exercise. As our trips to the park with him have tapered off in the recent months, it's easy to see how it has taken its toll on him. He's out of shape and overweight, and gets overheated easily. It's not ok to keep him cooped up all day and then all night in a tiny 800sq ft apt. He needs to be a dog and we need to allow him to be a dog. We rescued him from a family of 4 children and drove him all the way back to Texas from Oklahoma just to make him ours. He deserves a yard to run and play in. Poor thing does his best as it is to run around the coffee table.

    People don't make money on suburban crap anymore around here. They haven't since 2000 or so. There's too many new houses being built to sell "recent" houses at a profit considering that demand has been stagnant since the dot-com bust. My friends up in Round Rock who used to talk about flipping their houses are all in the same places they were in 1997. And, of course, if you believe in Peak Oil, your long-term investment in the suburbs isn't going to be worth squat...
    Honestly, I love this house. If I live there 10 years, so be it. It has all the things I need to be happy for a very long time. That was one thing I was going to be sure of when we started house-hunting was that we didn't buy a place that was below what our needs were because we would just be forced to sell again in a year or two. I wanted to live somewhere we'd be comfortable for a few years, and IF we decided to have a family we'd have the room to do that. This house meets all of our needs and doesn't break the bank. If we decide to flip it and the market's good, so be it. If not, then so be it. Either way it's a heck of a lot better house than I ever thought I'd live in, and I'm tickled pink.

  22. #22
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,966
    Quote Originally posted by doinky
    Current results on condos/townhomes in 78703 and 78705 on realtor.com show a ton of units of varying degrees of quality. Cheapest 78703 is $56K for a couple of one-bedrooms on 10th St.; next you jump up to about $90K for a few 1 and 2 bedrooms; after that it's the 120K-150K range for 2 bedrooms west of Mopac, mostly.

    78705 has more cheap stuff, but you'd have to be willing to live around students. There are 8 pages under $175K of all types in that zip code right now; first few pages on or near $100K.

    Note that part of my plan buying the condo back in '96 was to accumulate equity while living in a very cool place. It worked; I used some of that equity for the down payment for the house, and now rent out the condo for income.
    That's good to know because I've got some friends that live up toward the Arboretum(sp?) but work downtown. They are getting real tired of the traffic but were having trouble finding something affordable down there.

    I would like to live/work in Austin, but jobs aren't coming up too frequently there and the wifey just got an excellent job in New Braunfels. She's more of a small-town country girl that I don't think could handle a real urban experience like I could. I live near Canyon Lake right now because we got cheap rent from a landlord that happened to be a family friend. We will move to New Braunfels once we have a respectable downpayment together in about a year. There's some great older homes near the downtown there, so we figure that is a good compromise. Moving into a downtown townhouse is a lot to ask of a girl that always lived on 10+ acres.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  23. #23

    Registered
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Arlington, Va.
    Posts
    180
    Quote Originally posted by WILDMAN
    I have two teenagers that love living in an urban environment. They can walk or trolley to movies, shopping, restaurants, parks etc. We can take the baby and the dog to multiple parks. Its like having a huge yard and someone else has to cut the grass. The space doesnt have to be small. The unit we are building out for ourseleves will be over 5,000 s.f. with enough room in the living room for the kids to ride their bikes. It was a warehouse and we only paid $50,000 for it.You just have to do your homework. The best way I have found is to get off the computer and cruise the streets to see whats out there.
    Urban pioneers/entrepreneurs are great, and maybe we should expect Cyburbians to commit to the type of urban mentality that you clearly have...Reflecting on your words has caused me to reconsider my compromise decision to live in Arlington rather than DC (as a somewhat more affordable alternative). But we can't expect the masses to see things this way or to have this sort of urban vision. The main point of this thread, which no one really has disputed, is that unless you make a conscious effort to avoid it (and in some markets pay a lot more), most Americans are stuck with a car-dependent sprawl option. Despite some advances in New Urbanism, the market hasn't produced affordable and/or livable (that is, middle class) urban-style alternatives. And the advantages (taxes, etc.) in owning a home in this country are so overwhelming -- even without the tremendous appreciation in values in many parts of the country in recent years, the system is clearly gamed against renters. We'll see if this continues to hold in the future...

  24. #24
    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    You want some cheese with that whine?

    (At least the jackhammers aren't hurting the baby.)
    I can go on if you like.

    Our bathtub coating is peeling up for the second time, which is really attractive to guests that stay with us from out of town. Our last neighbor upstairs let her cat crap in his litterbox on her balcony and we finally figured out the tiny sand on our balcony we were stepping in wasn't dirt like we thought originally, it was litter from her balcony. We've found dirty diapers in the parking lot. Every other night college kids think it's fun to go running and screaming up the hallways at 4am while we're trying to sleep. The walls are so thin you can hear people talking next door (the girl next to us used to sing hip hop songs in the morning, which was hilarious). The water in the shower surges the entire time you bathe, so it's hot/cold/hot/cold/hot/cold, etc. People think it's perfectly ok for their dogs to swim with them in the community pool.

    I'm not whining, I'm listing the problems with our apartment complex that could for the most part be easily be handled by management giving a good gall darn about the place.

    If for whatever reason this house falls through, I've already decided this apartment complex is done in my book. We're outta here!

  25. #25

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    1,371
    There is something missing in all this dialogue.

    Downtown - at least in a prosperous place like Austin - isn't big enough to house the entire population, even if they all shared the angst about living there that is so evident in this thread.

    If downtown values - like pedestrian orientation, higher intensity of use as the neighbohood evolves, transit - are going to spread, they are going to spread because people who have no real financial/practical choice move out into neighborhoods that they decide to make better by community organizing and political action. The reason that we have a trail system and decided to cough up local taxes to keep our bus route in this 'burb is because people who moved out of the city (usually a bigger one somewhere else) wanted those things AND the more suburban amenities we have. It is also the reason we are trying to get our act together on affordable housing. Its sad if someone can't live where they want due to practical realities, BUT all this moaning and trying to manuver brings me down.

    Let's let these guys go enjoy their home! And remind them that when an affordable infill project is proposed, or an opportunity to support transit or traffic calming or a mixed use area arises, they are out there for that purpose. If the only folks who live out here are brain dead in front of their tv's, nothing will ever get better. Neighbohoods need people like these two. I say go in peace.

Closed thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 1
    Last post: 07 Feb 2010, 11:42 PM
  2. The end of suburbia
    Environmental Planning
    Replies: 3
    Last post: 04 Feb 2008, 11:57 AM
  3. The New Suburbia
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 6
    Last post: 25 Sep 2005, 2:28 PM
  4. Why suburbia?
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 73
    Last post: 26 Apr 2005, 8:33 AM