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Cheap old houses

Dan

Dear Leader
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Ladies and gentlemen, the most expensive house in Cairo, Illinois. $250K may seem like a lot, but the next cheapest house is $54,000.

Seriously, if you want to buy a great house on the cheap, in a decent neighborhood in a major metropolitan area, the eastern suburbs of Cleveland can't be beat. The Heights/Hillcrest area was ground zero for the 2008 bust, and it's still reeling. (I lived there, and my life savings paid dearly for it.)

Not exactly five digit oh-my-God prices, but for me, living in an area where $200K gets you a functionally obsolete Folk Victorian from the late 1800s with 7' ceilings and a gravel driveway, these are bargoons.

24564

24565

24566
 
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Doohickie

Cyburbian
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1,715
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My general "comp" is the $100/sq ft number. In my area of DFW, more than that generally means it's a very nice house and/or in a very desirable area; much less than that means either a fixer upper or a bad neighborhood. The house we bought last year was very close to the $100/sq ft number; area was okay (but more what we wanted) and it needed a bit of work, mostly cosmetic (although we did have some upgrades done on the electrical system). I see a lot of houses asking more than $100/sq ft and I know there's an upward trend in the area, but I can't believe they will get that much.

One thing I've noticed with residential real estate is how much a half mile one way or the other can make a difference. Our neighborhood is on the upswing generally, after a slide in the 1990s. The area just on the other side of I-20 is generally perceived as a high crime war zone. You could drive through either area and see nice houses and nice streets, but when you look at crime reports you see a marked difference.

It basically follows the original dates of development, where in this part of town, it flowed from downtown southward so the further south you get, the newer the homes are. But the Near Southside has become exceedingly trendy and the trendiness is steadily creeping southward. I think it's starting to increase our home prices about 7 miles south of downtown.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
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13,731
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I think most of Phoenix is easily above the $100/sqft mark. I think mine was $140 and I'm off in the burbs.
 

Doohickie

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I know Fort Worth is still on the "affordable side" compared to big cities. I guess my point is all of these houses well south of $100 per sq ft are bargains.
 

Bubba

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4,831
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28
I think most of Phoenix is easily above the $100/sqft mark. I think mine was $140 and I'm off in the burbs.
My house in suburban Atlanta was $110/sqft when I purchased it a couple of years ago - probably up to $125/sqft now.
 

shell_waster

Cyburbian
Messages
240
Points
9
I'm 30 miles east of Atlanta and we are seeing $115-$130/sqft now and it is ridiculous. There is no way on this earth I'd pay what some of the houses in my hood are being list AND sold for. We've been looking to relocate out of our neighborhood but cannot find anything comparable without an over inflated price. It is looking like we will stay put until the next recession then buy when prices are more realistic.
 

Dan

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I'm 30 miles east of Atlanta and we are seeing $115-$130/sqft now and it is ridiculous.
Again, in my neck of the woods, it's $150 to $250/ft2, with annual property taxes of 2% to 3% of full appraised value.

24578

That $329K house will have mortgage payments of around $2,000/month with 20% down, thanks to property taxes.

We're a 10-15 minute drive from downtown, but on the "wrong" side of the lake -- the side with the wineries and vineyards, not the region's major employer. Comps are closer to $150-$175/ft2. It helps with affordability a bit, but still, about 40% of our mortgage payment goes into escrow for property tax.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
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1,715
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26
I created a monster in mentioning dollars per sq ft. Any chance of splitting off that part of the discussion and going back to talking about cheap old houses?
 

kjel

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12,108
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34
Most of the old housing stock in my 'hood is selling for $150-$250/SF with property tax of 3% of market value. Most of them also need a good amount of work.

My house was purchased from the city for $2,000 but needed about $250,000 of work. It was essentially a rebuild.
 

RandomPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,575
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22
I nosed around this one because it was intriguing. https://www.trulia.com/p/mi/highland-park/75-puritan-st-highland-park-mi-48203--1021397184 Sale price history includes $130,000 (2004), $65,000 (2005), $12,000 (2011). I wonder if it had a fire between 2004-05. Now the interior pictures look like some of the house is gutted and some just needs a good cleaning. So interesting!! (This is what draws me to historic buildings -- the story!)
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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Though, RP, understand that Highland Park, MI is pretty much completely abandoned. The municipal government is effectively nonexistent and if you made this house livable, you'd likely still be stuck is a $30K value property.

This community was a very nice upper middle/upper income place until about the 1970s then it declined precipitously. Hence why a property is valued at only $30K when replacement cost is likely in the upper $100K.
 

Doohickie

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One thing that could dissuade a potential buyers is to plunk the address into Google maps and take a virtual walk around the block. Look at the other houses. Some are in fine shape, but if too many are run down that should tell you something.
 

RandomPlanner

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22
One thing that could dissuade a potential buyers is to plunk the address into Google maps and take a virtual walk around the block. Look at the other houses. Some are in fine shape, but if too many are run down that should tell you something.
I did almost just that -- plunk the address into google maps and took a virtual walk. But mine was just looking at this particular block alone. I actually liked it. Architecturally, I love craftsman style homes and this block has a great selection. As far as maintenance, I saw two abandoned homes with not-so-overgrown lawns which were not great. But the rest of the yards looked well cared for as did the homes.

Then I took your advice and went around the block and what a difference! Lots of abandoned lots, abandoned buildings. Definitely not the best and easily a deterrent to potential residents or investors.

I'm optimistic for this neighborhood though. The (what I'm assuming are) large apartment buildings look architecturally interesting and fairly solid from a bird's eye preservation perspective. And because this individual block on Puritan Street seems to have residents who are investing and maintaining in their own property, I'm hopeful that it will spread, parcel by parcel, until it's the good section of the neighborhood outshines the bad.
 
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mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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I did almost just that -- plunk the address into google maps and take a virtual walk. But mine was just looking at this particular block alone. I actually liked it. Architecturally, I love craftsman style homes and this block has a great selection. As far as maintenance, I saw two abandoned homes with not-so-overgrown lawns which were not great. But the rest of the yards looked well cared for as did the homes.

Then I took your advice and went around the block and what a difference! Lots of abandoned lots, abandoned buildings. Definitely not the best and easily a deterrent to potential residents or investors.

I'm optimistic for this neighborhood though. The (what I'm assuming are) large apartment buildings look architecturally interesting and fairly solid from a bird's eye preservation perspective. And because this individual block on Puritan Street seems to have residents who are investing and maintaining in their own property, I'm hopeful that it will spread, parcel by parcel, until it's the good section of the neighborhood outshines the bad.
Hate to burst your bubble, but Highland Park, MI is surrounded by Detroit, MI and this 'potential' was there in 2002 when I was finishing my MUP capstone project at The UofM and driving all over the eastside of Detroit. For the vast majority of Detroit, it has only gotten worse.
 

RandomPlanner

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Hate to burst your bubble, but Highland Park, MI is surrounded by Detroit, MI and this 'potential' was there in 2002 when I was finishing my MUP capstone project at The UofM and driving all over the eastside of Detroit. For the vast majority of Detroit, it has only gotten worse.
I understand it's basically Detroit and I don't claim to know the answers to solving the problems there. Obviously, you know this community far better than I. What I'm saying is -- isn't it our job as planners to see the potential (no matter how fleeting) in a community and be part of the solution? Yes, the surrounding neighborhood looks rough; I believe you (and am disappointed) when you say the municipality is basically nonexistent. But I'm trying to look at the positive. This block, apart from the problems surrounding it, looks like a fine one. I see property owners who care, homes that appear well-built and well-maintained, and blue skies. I also see that one block directly north of here, there are no abandoned homes. And one block south of here, there are several more. So, either the bad neighborhood is encroaching into the good OR the good neighborhood is encroaching into the bad. I choose to hope for the latter option.

If I worked near here and could live in a property that I could purchase in cash for $30,000, I would like to think I'd consider it. Not for the resale value but for my own personal housing need. Ok, maybe investors aren't buying in this neighborhood. But somebody does seem to care!
 

Doohickie

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This particular neighborhood is very close to Royal Oak, a trendy, expensive city. I could see people who are just starting out and can't afford Royal Oak chic buying a home just over the border in Detroit and putting in some sweat equity.

This is pretty much what happened in the Fairmount neighborhood in Fort Worth's Near Southside. It took a while, maybe 20 years, but people who bought homes for $30k there and invested another $100k are now selling for $3-500k. I think the border neighborhoods of Detroit that abut fashionable suburbs are likely to be the first to rebound in the city.
 

Veloise

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This particular neighborhood is very close to Royal Oak, a trendy, expensive city. I could see people who are just starting out and can't afford Royal Oak chic buying a home just over the border in Detroit and putting in some sweat equity.
...
Actually, HP is four miles south of Royal Oak, with Eight Mile Road in between.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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RP - I understand what you're saying, but anyone looking to improve or help improve that specific neighborhood of HP, MI are at its, as far as I know, bottom.

And I spend a lot of time in SE MI and know that there are many, many other places people would gravitate toward before they even thought about Highland Park.

I'm generally an optimist planner, but I objectively see little chance of that place changing from where its currently at. I love the State of Michigan and would rather put my efforts into downtrodden places/cities in the State that in my opinion have a chance.
 
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WSU MUP Student

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RP - I understand what you're saying, but anyone looking to improve or help improve that specific neighborhood of HP, MI are at its, as far as I know, bottom.

And I spend a lot of time in SE MI and know that there are many, many other places people would gravitate toward before they even thought about Highland Park.

I'm generally an optimist planner, but I objectively see little chance of that place changing from where its currently at. I love the State of Michigan and would rather put my efforts into downtrodden places/cities in the State that in my opinion have a chance.
This.

When I was working on my capstone project during grad school at Wayne State, we were tasked with working with a non-profit auditing the master plans and assisting on updates, zoning ordinances, and permitting process in various communities in Metro Detroit. We were all optimistic budding-planners who chose to go to school in an urban setting and thought anything was possible... and then our group drew Highland Park. It was a depressing mess. They were newly under a state-appointed emergency manager (or maybe my time frame is off and this was right before the EM was appointed) and city hall was 100% dysfunctional at every level. We muddled through for a month and a half and thankfully there was somebody at another local non-profit who had some experience working with HP and we were able to complete the project in a timely manner.

When we were scheduled to make our presentation to the rest of the class, the head of the department, and the non-profit overseeing the project we invited the heads of the planning department and a few other folks from the city and though they were totally in over their heads at work, they were eager to come since there was the prospect of grant money coming to the cities involved in the project to help fund a total master plan update and HP had $0 of their own. Well, come 4:00 p.m. nobody from the city had shown up even though the university was only a few miles from city hall. We went on with our presentation anyway only to learn afterwards that city hall had been raided by the FBI and state police earlier in the afternoon on suspicion of multiple elected and appointeds embezzling funds, taking kickbacks, and lying to investigators.

That was about a decade ago and while things in city hall are functioning a little better it's still about the last city in the Metro Detroit I'd want to put roots down in.
 

mendelman

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That was about a decade ago and while things in city hall are functioning a little better it's still about the last city in the Metro Detroit I'd want to put roots down in.
I knew it was rough, but had no understanding of that level of detail.

My capstone in 2002 was a group project where we did a retail market analysis and potential development site(s) plan for the entire eastside of the City of Detroit.

That's about 60 sq miles and, yes, we spent several weeks driving all over the eastside, which was very enlightening to us budding MUPs from all over Michigan, the USA and international.

I was particularly struck by the hard physical condition line between the City of Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park on the far westside. One side of the street was rough and the other side was a nice comfortable good condition streetcar suburban residential neighborhood.
 
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