TAK

Inwood Forest Area

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TAK    3

Hello all...

I've been lurking here for a while and have made a few posts recently. I like what I see and hear. I wish more people knew about the site and were interested in helping building the city.

I'm coming to you because I have to make a real decision. I have a few options:

1. Sell my house and move.

2. Keep my house (as a rental) and move.

A. Move to a larger house in the suburbs: Sugarland / Mo. City / Pearland.

B. Move to a larger house in this area.

C. ???

The Situation:

I live in Inwood North. Just West of the golf course. Standing on my back patio, I look at the Inwood Forest Golf Course. Main intersection is Antoine and W. Gulf Bank.

I like the location. My wife and I spend most of our time some where on the west side or near Rice Village. My wife works at Shepard and 59 and she drives straight down Shepard to get to work in less time than it would take on the freeway. We can get to the Galleria in 15-20 mins depending on traffic. We can get to downtown in 20 mins (outside of rush hour.)

The Problem

Inwood Forest is bordered by apartments and hood on most sides and Acres Homes (which I think has lots of potential because it has lots of available land.) I'm cool with the hood. I grew up in the hood, which is part of the reason it was easy for me to move back to the hood. My wife is not from the hood, but she lived in Oakland for a couple of years, so she can handle hood she says - but she doesn't sleep well when I travel for work, so I'm not so sure she can handle hood - which we're at the edge of.

Having said all that, we're looking at having kids soon - and I'm not a fan of Aldine schools, but I can work around that. My larger concern is the crime in the area is seeming to increase. My truck has been broken into. My neighbor got carjacked. Etc...

It doesn't seem like this area is going to rebound, but I don't want to leave and then have gentrification come along and make things 'nice'. However, with the way the economy seems to be turning (only those with money are feeling good - the 'real' middle class is getting squeezed) there is no way there will be money flowing into this area. This makes me think I won't be able to recoup the money I put into the house (I moved into it in 2002) unless I stay here a while, but "a while" could turn into "a long while" if the economy gets worse.

So, any of you in the know (or in the think) have any thoughts on this area? I know there are some things happening closer to the loop (NW Mall area) but I don't think there is much going on away from there. I don't even think this end of Oak Forest (at Antoine & 290) is looking as 'strong' as the end close to Garden Oaks, etc....

I want to live near the city and I want a large (for the city) home (4+ Br @ 2500+ sq ft) but I don't want to pay $300k for a house at this time because it wouldn't be financially responsible, even though we can afford it.

So, what should I do?

Sell or Rent?

Suburbs or Stay?

Thanks!

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VicMan    44

How about option no. 3... a yuppieland like Midtown? Downtown? Rice Military?

9 times out of 10, you do not want to move to a suburb unless you work nearby or unless you have kids.

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TAK    3
How about option no. 3... a yuppieland like Midtown? Downtown? Rice Military?

9 times out of 10, you do not want to move to a suburb unless you work nearby or unless you have kids.

find a 4 BR / 2500 sq ft house (not town house) with something that resembles a yard - for less than $300k (which is about $50k more than i want to spend, but might consider for the right place) in any of those areas and get back to me. ;)

but thanks for the reply!

Edited by TAK

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Guest danax   
Guest danax

I love those contemporary styled homes in Inwood North and the location is good geographically but the values are staying low due to the surrounding area, plus the homes are at that age where things are starting to need attention which could traditionally would mean the beginning of a long down cycle. However, gentrification pressures are also at work nearby so that should balance any declining somewhat.

The sad reality is that once the area gets a bad reputation it's hard to shake, even if it's more perceived than real. It's a shame that a few thugs can get people fleeing homes that they love. I certainly understand your concerns though. Would it be cheaper to put your children through private schools and stay and fight to hold your neighborhood together? Hard to do, I know.

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VicMan    44

Here is a list of many Houston ISD schools that are considered to be really good:

(Zoned)

* Elementary: Condit, Horn, Kolter, Lovett, Red, River Oaks, Twain, West University (EDIT: Also Briargrove, Herod, Oak Forest, Parker, and most likely St. George Place, to be completed in Fall 2006 but opening in 2007) (EDIT no. 2 - Also the schools that feed into West Briar Middle and Westside High)

* Middle: Johnston, Lanier, Pershing, West Briar (outside BW8) - In addition anyone zoned to Pershing or Johnston can apply to Pin Oak's regular program

* High: Bellaire, Lamar, Westside (outside BW8) (Edit no. 2 - Anything zoned to Lee (which is NOT considered to be good) has Lamar and Westside as options)

Magnet schools:

* Elementary: Many listed above are magnets - Also T.H. Rogers

* Middle: Many listed above are magnets - Also T.H. Rogers

* High: Many listed above are magnets - Also Carnegie Vanguard, DeBakey, HSPVA

Also Spring Branch ISD as a whole is considered to be good.

(EDIT: Outside the Beltway: Ashford, Barbara Bush, Shadowbriar, and most likely Ray K. Daily Elementary (opening Dall 2006), West Briar Middle, Westside High)

Do check them out to make sure that you will like them.

Edited by VicMan

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nmainguy    4
I don't even think this end of Oak Forest (at Antoine & 290) is looking as 'strong' as the end close to Garden Oaks, etc....

I want to live near the city and I want a large (for the city) home (4+ Br @ 2500+ sq ft) but I don't want to pay $300k for a house at this time because it wouldn't be financially responsible, even though we can afford it.

Thanks!

Yeah, I agree. That end of Oak forest pretty much blows. You might still consider Garden Oaks and/or the eastern edge of Oak Forest [east of Ella]. The lots are huge; the homes are at 200K-300K and a great piece of property to expand on. My best friend lives on Fisher in OF. His lot is HUGE. He could build 3 McMansions if he wanted to subdivide-but he's not going to.

Shepard borders on the east and Ella to T.C. Jester to Washington to downtown is maybe a 15 minute drive at most. No freeway required.

At least give it another look.

B)

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rps324    5

I would be surprised to see Inwood gentrify within the next 5 - 7 years. Oak Forest is booming and while I tend to agree with the perspective that the western fringes near Antoine aren't all that great, I think we will see improvement continue to stretch to there, barring a serious economic downturn.

I think Parker elementary in Westbury is still considered good. I second the motion to look in that area. I think it is the most affordable with a decent elementary school that gets you close to civilization.

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TAK    3
Have you considered Westbury or Willowbend? You get a lot of house for the money, especially considering the location. My 3/2/2 in Westbury 1 is just over 2000 square feet. Hardwood floors and all-brick exterior, and it cost less than $200K. We're zoned to Kolter Elementary and Johnston/Pin Oak Middle schools. As for Westbury High... well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. But remember that HISD has magnet and transfer programs.
Thanks for the response. I haven't looked at Westbury or Willowbend. I will give it a shot.

I don't have a problem with HISD. I was in the Vanguard program for a time, so I am somewhat familiar with the options.

I 'can' spend $300k, but I'd rather not. At least not until I see that the economy is stabilizing (vs. looking like the beginning of a down-tick of some unknown size.)

I love those contemporary styled homes in Inwood North and the location is good geographically but the values are staying low due to the surrounding area, plus the homes are at that age where things are starting to need attention which could traditionally would mean the beginning of a long down cycle. However, gentrification pressures are also at work nearby so that should balance any declining somewhat.

The sad reality is that once the area gets a bad reputation it's hard to shake, even if it's more perceived than real. It's a shame that a few thugs can get people fleeing homes that they love. I certainly understand your concerns though. Would it be cheaper to put your children through private schools and stay and fight to hold your neighborhood together? Hard to do, I know.

Thanks for the response, danax.

I'm more concerned about the crime than the schools. If I thought my wife would be safe bumping around in her Volvo, I'd stick it out - easily. However, my neighbor got carjacked in his Jag while on Bingle - our route to 290 (but not the everyday route for the wife, which is through Acres Homes on W. Montgomery).

By the time school comes around (we have no children, yet) I'd have a better idea of what I thought was going to take place here. But from what I see/hear, crime is increasing. I know there used to be problems with crime here (from talking to neighbors that have been here since day 1) but it dipped when the whole economy was really rolling... Now that the economy is slowing, people on the lower end are the first to feel the effects. Crimes of 'survival' start to kick in.

Yeah, I agree. That end of Oak forest pretty much blows. You might still consider Garden Oaks and/or the eastern edge of Oak Forest [east of Ella]. The lots are huge; the homes are at 200K-300K and a great piece of property to expand on. My best friend lives on Fisher in OF. His lot is HUGE. He could build 3 McMansions if he wanted to subdivide-but he's not going to.

Shepard borders on the east and Ella to T.C. Jester to Washington to downtown is maybe a 15 minute drive at most. No freeway required.

At least give it another look.

B)

Yeah, I've looked at Garden Oaks... It's a bit pricier than I want to pay. The prices aren't terrible, but they're 2x the median in Houston, so they're not inexpensive, either. I might keep looking at Garden Oaks to see if I can get a deal. Maybe someone is 'motivated' to get out. The Oak Forest houses seem small. 3 BR is not going to be enough (unless it has a study or something I can convert into an office.)

Thanks...

Vic and rps... I'll definitely look into the schools as part of the moving decision. Thanks for the "heads up".

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jgs1419    0

I am pretty familiar with the land prices and home prices in Inwood Forest and I agree with rps that significant appreciation/gentrification/renewal for Inwood Forest is 5-7 years away. If a significant redevelopment/infill push starts (continues might be a better term) North of Tidwell, the oodles and oodles (how many acres in an oodle?) of vacant land in Acres Homes will hold back Inwood Forest from any significant infill redevelopment.

Acres Homes (Home?) had already started turning around before the mayor put it on the Houston Hope list.

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ldogg    0

HoosierHorn... welcome to this forum as well!

at any rate... I think some of you claiming gentrification of Inwood in 7 years are insane.... the reality is that with Acres Homes, the apts on W. Gulf Bank, and the projects at Garden City just will not allow it to happen... also consider that parts of Inwood Forest have been claimed by the flooding and are no longer liveable.... take a look at the businesses along Antoine from 290 all the way north past Gulf Bank... there is entirely too much that needs to happen in this area to make it desireable again....

I spent most of my childhood in this area.. from living the first 3 years of my life in some townhomes behind the old HEB on Antoine at Tidwell to living on Longcreek in Inwood Forest until I was 14... the neighborhood began to decline in 1985 and got worse and worse as the years go by... I have been back recently since we moved out in 1991, and I can tell you it is much worse today than back then... it is actually sad for me to see what my old neighborhood has become.... but alas the writing was on the wall when in '91 nearly every house on our block on our side of the street was broken into... then my dad was held up outside Little Ceasars one night... mom called the realtor the next day.... for guidance, my parents bought the house there for about $80k in 1980... they sold it in 1991 for $110k and that was after some remodeling and a gorgeous swimming pool and backyard were done.... today my old neighbors across the street have tried to sell their house to retire finally... they were asking $125k and got no offers... so for 25 years there has been virtually no appreciation in the neighborhood... foreclosures are common as per a recent Chronicle article... I'd say get out while you can...

the suggest of the Meyerland/Westbury area is a good one... I'm also a little biased towards my neck of the woods in Timbergrove.... Lazybrook and parts of Oak Forest are also better choices than Inwood.... as for the need to have 4 bedrooms, I'd strongly suggest looking at some of these older homes... they all have a formal living room as well as a den, and you could do something similar to what I did and convert part of the formal living into a study... we added some walls and put in french doors....

just my 2 cents... a penny for your thoughts?

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pineda    2

Our first house was in the Inwood Forest Village area. Would I go back? Not even to visit.

The first time someone broke into our house was in broad daylight. They scaled up the basketball goal in the driveway, kicked out one of the second story windows and went to town.

The second time I was at home watching a Sunday afternoon football game. They banged on the door and when I wouldn't answer, they jumped over the 6' tall fence in the backyard, and kicked the back door in. I had to grab my gun and point it at their faces before they backed off and left.

The third time I was walking my baby daughter in her stroller in front of our house in the afternoon. I was robbed at gunpoint in front of her.

I figured I had finally had enough when the cops on the ground and in the air (Fox) knew my name and I knew theirs. BTW, the cops told me that they hated to come out to that part of town because the criminals had much better weapons than they did.

I've driven by since then just to see the house and yard. But I wouldn't recommend it to any one.

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wordgirl    0
Our first house was in the Inwood Forest Village area. Would I go back? Not even to visit.

The first time someone broke into our house was in broad daylight. They scaled up the basketball goal in the driveway, kicked out one of the second story windows and went to town.

The second time I was at home watching a Sunday afternoon football game. They banged on the door and when I wouldn't answer, they jumped over the 6' tall fence in the backyard, and kicked the back door in. I had to grab my gun and point it at their faces before they backed off and left.

The third time I was walking my baby daughter in her stroller in front of our house in the afternoon. I was robbed at gunpoint in front of her.

I figured I had finally had enough when the cops on the ground and in the air (Fox) knew my name and I knew theirs. BTW, the cops told me that they hated to come out to that part of town because the criminals had much better weapons than they did.

I've driven by since then just to see the house and yard. But I wouldn't recommend it to any one.

Man! Was Inwood Forest once a nice area? What do you think made it go down? We live in Garden Oaks. Every once and awhile I get big house envy and look for bigger houses near by. Guess those bargains in Inwood Forest aren't such bargains after all.

TAK..we will be motivated sellers when we put our GO home on the market in March, to move to once of the northeast suburbs (Summerwood or Fall Creek). Sorry, but it is only a 2bd/1 bath. But if you have the money and patience (which we don't), you can always add on and remodel. Plus we have a great constable program and a coffee shop within walking distance!

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rps324    5
HoosierHorn... welcome to this forum as well!

at any rate... I think some of you claiming gentrification of Inwood in 7 years are insane.... the reality is that with Acres Homes, the apts on W. Gulf Bank, and the projects at Garden City just will not allow it to happen... also consider that parts of Inwood Forest have been claimed by the flooding and are no longer liveable.... take a look at the businesses along Antoine from 290 all the way north past Gulf Bank... there is entirely too much that needs to happen in this area to make it desireable again....

just my 2 cents... a penny for your thoughts?

Just to clarify, if you read my posts I am not one claiming gentrification WILL happen in 7 years. I just don't see it happening within 7 years for sure. Doubtful beyond that, but stranger things have happened with Houston real estate.

I have discussed before that I believe there are "barriers" to the gentrification "waves" that develop. the Heights/Timbergrove/Garden Oaks wave has spread into Oak Forest, but will be stalled out by Acres Homes & the issues described above in the general Antoine area, (IMO). Much in the same way the sketchy areas between the city limits of Bellaire and Sharpstown proper have provided an obstacle to Bellaire's gentrification spreading to Sharpstown. Instead I think it is/will flow south through Meyerland and into Westbury.

I do think the western fringes of Oak Forest & Magnum manor will move up. Personally, I am not going to rule out that someday it may spread north up Antoine and eventually reach Inwood, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

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ldogg    0

wordgirl...

yes Inwood Forest was once a very nice neighborhood... when my parents bought there in 1980 it was a fairly new community with nicely designed and maintained homes... the country club was beautiful and across the street from it on Antoine were several mansions... if anyone remembers the clubs back then called "Kars", the owners lived in one of those houses... huge and with a green from one of the holes out the backyard and a pond... they always had several Mercedes in the driveway as well as a Lamborghini Countach... with 27 holes of golf this neighborhood was designed to be a showplace and for families to have a nice environment to live and grow and play...

over the years the place just slowly died.... cheaper developments around it and low income apartments hurt values... with Acres Homes on one side and Garden City on the other it was a prime target for theives... I even recall some of the gang wars going on around 1988-89 between the Acres Shakers and the Garden City possee.... sad that I knew all of this while in junior high... my school was filled with kids carrying drugs... fights... a stabbing... a couple of hold ups.... again, in junior high in 1989-91... things have only gotten worse... the downslide really kicked in around 1987 at least from my memory...

rps..

I totally agree with your comments then... I definitely see Antoine and the immediate surroundings being a nearly permanent barrier to gentrification... people can continue to rehab Garden Oaks and Oak Forest closer to the loop, and I see less obstacles to taking that redevelopment east from that area as opposed to west towards Antoine...

Edited by ldogg

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danny    0

How widespread is the flooding in that area? I drove through a part of Inwood with very large houses sitting on the golfcourse, but half the lots were empty. Are these empty lots from flood-damaged homes, or were the lots never developed to begin with? I think due to the large houses and somehwhat close location the neighborhood may someday start to get better, but it seems like it will first go through many more years of decline.

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ldogg    0

danny...

back in the mid to late 80's the streets would flood rather easily, but not up into houses... I can recall being let out of school several times for bad rain storms... walking home at Victory/Antoine the water would be about shin deep... the intersection of Longcreek and Streamside used to get ankle deep easily...

since then there has been much more development upstream on White Oak Bayou.... the effects have not been good, and my understanding is that the area floods much more severely and regularly... those empty lots aren't from lack of development... they were teardowns from the insurance company...

the area has been on decline for about 20 years now... scary thought as that makes me feel old! anyway, for it to come back it'll take a lot of change to the areas surrounding it, and if that does happen it'll still take a lot of time and $$ to remodel, rehab or teardown the existing homes as they'll be even older and many likely not well maintained...

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pineda    2

Antoine at W. Gulf Bank floods easily, but then so does much of Antoine. But even the minor street flooding paled in comparison to the weekly ritual of listening to gunshots on the weekends.

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danny    0

Man... gunshots every weekend? That's a little too scary for me! There seems and awful lot of pedestrians all over the place late at night on Antoine.

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hbcu    4

reminds me of Fondren with all those big homes but those apartments make the homes almost worthless...

if you want to live close to the city but want a nice area and decent school district, consider where I grew up..Briargate..

parents bought a 4 BR house in 74 when white flight took place and the house has nearly quadrupled. There are numerous 4 bedroom plans and 5 bedrooms.

No apartments are located near the neighborhood and once the South Main Freeway is finished (it connects with the FB Tollway), your going to be able to get to Downtown in less than 10 minutes.

there are numerous ways out the neighborhood and in less than 10 minutes in either direction you have your choice of shopping. Homes aren't overpriced like they are in Westbury and the school district is Fort Bend ISD.

and also....our area doesn't flood.

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rps324    5
It's all relative. Compared to surrounding neighborhoods--Maplewood, Meyerland, Willow Meadows, Willowbend--Westbury is still an incredible bargain*. This past summer, we bought a 2011 sq. ft., never-flooded, all-brick 3/2/2 with hardwood floors for well under $200K. We're zoned to Kolter elementary and Johnston/Pin Oak middle, and we're only two stop signs and one light away from 610. So far, I've been very happy with the house and the neighborhood.

*-That gap may be closing somewhat, however.

I have to agree. If you think Westbury is "overpriced" now, wait a couple of years. It will continue to benefit from getting the overflow of people priced out of Meyerland & the inner-loop.

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hbcu    4

a liitle over 2,000 sqaure feet under $200K? That's overprices

5 miles fown the road you can get 4/2/2 for a little over $100K...

I never agreed with the HISD magnet program, it devalues your neighborhood pride because if the school isn't to your parent's liking, it's a cinch they are leaving...

people don't remember at one time Westbury HS was the "elite" school and they used to flex Johnny Rebel at all their games. where's the mascot now?

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pineda    2
people don't remember at one time Westbury HS was the "elite" school and they used to flex Johnny Rebel at all their games. where's the mascot now?

Some of us do remember! :wub:

There was a big hub-bub a number of years ago about Johnny Reb and his Confederate flag in his hand, and it disappeared. It was offensive to some of the students and faculty there. Not sure what the mascot is now.

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rps324    5
a liitle over 2,000 sqaure feet under $200K? That's overprices

5 miles fown the road you can get 4/2/2 for a little over $100K...

I never agreed with the HISD magnet program, it devalues your neighborhood pride because if the school isn't to your parent's liking, it's a cinch they are leaving...

people don't remember at one time Westbury HS was the "elite" school and they used to flex Johnny Rebel at all their games. where's the mascot now?

Westbury is now considered close in enough for entry-level urban buyers, but the little extra distance to Ft. Bend county might as well make it another planet. Doesn't work for everybody, or may not make sense to you, but for plenty of buyers Westbury looks like a bargain.

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hbcu    4

Fort Bend ISD has a magnet program now at all 10 schools AND intra-district transfer for people who worry about SAT scores...

to me, SAT is overrated anyway....I took the test once, got an average score...never bothered with it again because I already knew where and what I wanted to do in college.

if your kid is an athlete with a scholarship offer, all you need is the minimum score and a decent GPA to get in any school in the country.

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