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Thread: Housing Priorities

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Apr 2003
    In a new discovered reality where it doesn't snow

    Housing Priorities

    In picking a place to live, very few find the perfect dwelling unit (be it condo, single family detached, townhouse, duplex...) in the perfect neighborhood. So it comes down to listing your priorities.

    When choosing a house, what are your priorities? Does it need to be within 1/2 mile of public transit? Does it need to be within a 1/2 hour of work? Do the quality of schools come into play? Do you need to be near the water, a set distance from a major downtown, a park, a trail system. What about crime rating, community pools, age of the house, political affiliation of that block group, age demographics? Does it need to be dog friendly, clusters of bars and restaurants within walking distance, or a sports arena nearby? Yard size, front yard depth, amount of onsite vegetation can also be factors too. Let's not forget condition of the home, possibility of future additions, and even future land use plans.

    What is your priority list when you determine where in a given region you want to move?
    Trusting a DC politician with your money is like trusting a hungry dog with a raw steak.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
    Jan 2009
    Remote command post at local bar
    Good school for the kids
    Which lends to a decent neighborhood crime/blight wise
    4 bed 2 bath house at a decent price
    Within 1-2 miles of major daily needs like grocery, Walmart, etc.
    No concern for mass transit, downtown, or other stuff, I can drive to that.
    In other cities I want a short commute or a commute against the flow of traffic. My town is only 5 miles long and 2 miles wide so no problems.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
    Dec 2005
    Wishing I were in Asia somewhere!
    Blog entries
    3 bedrooms/2 bathroom
    Structurally sound
    Low maintenance (aka small yard)
    Close to public transit and major roadways
    Ethnically diverse neighborhood (multicultural/multiracial household here)
    Affordable mortgage/property tax
    School system not important (private school)

    What we got....

    3 bedroom/2 bathroom
    Completely renovated
    No front yard, 15 x 15 rear yard that doesn't require mowing
    100 ft to 3 bus lines, 4 blocks to commuter rail and light rail
    Very diverse neighborhood
    My home is a deed restricted affordable unit for households earning below 80% AMI, paid $150K. Similar condition homes are in the $220-250K range.
    Property tax is under $1K which is unheard of for the area, it will go up once it's revalued but likely not above $2,500 since we have so little land. All in payment is $725, half of what we paid in rent.
    Little one goes to private school which we can afford thanks to low mortgage payment.
    Crime is an issue in the city overall but this neighborhood has below average crime stats thanks to higher rates of homeownership and neighborhood association.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
    Aug 2005
    Above urban19's plane field
    We've been in this house for close to 17 years now...really didn't have a huge list of priorities when we were looking way back then:

    -3 BR/2 BA
    -Free-standing with a decent yard
    -Roughly equidistant between the jobs we had at the time (drive-wise - transit wasn't a truly viable option for either job location)
    -Decent schools in case we ever had kids
    -Covered front entrance

    Ended up with:

    -3 BR/2 BA (check - actually 3 BR/ 2 1/2 BA)
    -Free-standing with a decent yard (check)
    -Roughly equidistant between the jobs we had at the time (check)
    -Decent schools in case we ever had kids (check (although no kids), and the middle school and high school are both within easy walking distance)
    -Garage (check)
    -Covered front entrance (check - nice front porch)

    Probably going to be looking to move (still within metro Atlanta) in the next year or two:

    -3 BR/2 BA - could probably scale back to 2 BR/2 BA if there's a room I can turn into a home office
    -Free-standing with a decent yard...I'm over yard work, but Mrs. Bubba still wants at least enough of a yard to grow vegetables...this is going to be the big compromise point.
    -Roughly equidistant between the jobs we had at the time - I work from home three to four days a week, so this isn't an issue - we'll be looking for something to ease my wife's commute. Proximity to a MARTA station would be nice, as my office is less than 1,000 feet from a station entrance, and my firm subsidies transit.
    -Decent schools in case we ever had kids - now only a minor concern for resale value.
    -Garage - probably still a want-to-have
    -Covered front entrance - an absolute must for Mrs. Bubba
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  5. #5
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
    Mar 2007
    Lowering the PCI in the Hills
    When we were looking back in 2009:
    • Must be south of Road W, east of Road X, west of Road Y, north of Road Z - This would put us squarely in one of 2 of the best school districts in the state should we have kids and within close distance to a desirable, walkable downtown even if we weren't right in the downtown itself
    • Established neighborhood with mature trees - we didn't want to be in a neighborhood of homes that all looked the same and were built within the past decade and we figured that even if the houses were "cookie-cutter" when they were built in the 1950s (as much of the stock in our area was), 60+ years of changes would allow for some architectural diversity to take shape
    • Sidewalks
    • Minimum 3 bedrooms
    • Walking distance to an ice cream shop
    • Formal dining room
    • A front door that doesn't open right into a living room
    • No HOA
    • Minimal updates needed when moving in

    We got everything except the sidewalks and we ended up in an HOA, but our HOA has very cheap dues ($45/year) and no design standards or restrictions above and beyond what the city has (apparently when our neighborhood was originally developed, the HOA had restrictions on 2-story homes but that was lifted a couple of years before we moved in).

    If we were to move again now, our priorities would change a bit:
    • Must be in City X or a particular neighborhood of Village Y (that would put us in the same school district as we are currently in and most likely the same elementary school)
    • Sidewalks
    • Basement
    • 3 bedrooms
    • Walking distance to a park

    We (or at least I) would happily give up some living space to be closer to downtown and we'd give up some outdoor space if it meant we could easily walk to one of the large parks/playgrounds.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Apr 2003
    In a new discovered reality where it doesn't snow
    Ours is a bit crazy...

    #1 Must be within a 30 minute drive of the hospital that my wife works at. (on call requirement)
    #2 Decent school system
    #3 3+ bed 2 1/2 bath two-story single-family detached dwelling, under $270,000
    #4 House needs to be less than 2,500 square feet, preferably between 1,500 to 2,000 square feet.
    #5 Historic and safe neighborhood if possible

    Here is the catch, #1 and #2 are in quite a bit of conflict. Wife's hospital is in the top 10 transplant hospital's in the country so it is a dream job for her. But the school system for that county is not the best, as in one of the worst in the State. To make it worse, the few good schools have housing prices starting around $400,000 as they are brand new subdivisions with 2,500+ square foot homes.

    Our pool of home options is very limited and we are a bit surprised at the cost of some of the private schools in the region. College will be less expensive.
    Trusting a DC politician with your money is like trusting a hungry dog with a raw steak.

  7. #7
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting
    Ours last year were:
    1. As close to City Hall as possible
    2. 3 bds and 2 full baths
    3. Ranch house
    4. 2-car garage
    5. A "good" elementary catchment in the specific SD

    We got all but #1. I'm 1.5 miles from City Hall, but it's close enough for walking or biking to work. We looked at a couple houses 1-3 blocks from City Hall, but those didn't work well enough for us.

    I'm happy with the house we found. We got a 1,700 sqft 3 bd, 2.5 ba ranch with a full basement and large 24x24 attached 2-car garage. The only real drawback is an oversized corner lot, which means we have ~18,000 sqft of lawn to mow. I was happy with our 10,000 sqft lot at our last house.

    Too much yard!
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Salmissra's avatar
    Aug 2004
    Central Texas
    When looking last time:
    -Min 3 bedroom/2 bath
    -Yard for dogs
    -Not a flat front facade
    -No HOA (I was adamant, hubby not as much)
    -Not an open floor plan - wanted separation between kitchen and entertainment/living room
    -Good school district
    -Easy access to freeway

    What we got:
    -4 bedroom/2 bath (really needed a half-bath in front half of house)
    -large fenced back yard
    -front porch and side setback
    -No HOA
    -Great separation in the front areas
    -Exceptionally rated schools
    -Decent access to freeways
    -Tiny kitchen

    Next time around, I have the following priorities, in no specific order:
    -3 bed/2 bath
    -one story
    -fenced yard for dogs
    -updated kitchen layout with plenty of counterspace
    -separation between kitchen and media room/entertaining area
    -attached 2 car garage
    -easy commuting access/options/distance
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
    Dec 2001
    We chose our current home based on size (for a growing family), walking distance to the lake with a 5k loop around it, great schools, and easy commutes. I love my neighborhood but I think we've started tossing around the idea of selling because our nice little neighborhood has become plagued with teens/young adults making poor decision (drugs, violence, petty theft, etc) on the opposite side of the neighborhood. So, while I love the area, I am concerned with the apparent lack of effs given by certain households have attracted such nonsense. The latest incident being that a house with a bad seed was shot nine times with a 9mm and luckily his parents inside were not hurt. However, we didn't spend this much on a home to worry about my children being shot riding their bikes around the neighborhood.

    So now my priorities are a bit different, although I still am hoping the pitch-fork wielding neighbors near the homes with issues like these will convince the owners to sell.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

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