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stefaniedurbin

Moving to Houston this Summer. Q's about Riverside Terr. and Wilmoth (77021/77004)

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My husband and I are moving to Houston this summer. We don't know much about Houston but will be transfering because he was accepted to a Ph.D program at Rice. U. (never visited, I'm from Boston, he's from S. Oregon) I will be teaching high school, probably HISD. We don't have any children yet but have an active dog and we're tired of apartment life so would like to buy a house at least a few months after we move to Houston.

It seems like most of the homes we could afford (we will have about 20k for a down payment) and are close to Rice (under 2 miles) are across 288 in Riverside terrace, Wilmoth subd., etc. Mostly zip codes 77004 or 77021. Just by looking at HAR.com and ziprealty (etc.) I've noticed that there seems to be (at least on paper) a huge increase in crime stats. For example, on ziprealty they show a graph that shows these areas to have crime rates that are near 400, with 100 being the national average. Is it possible that the SFR areas I'm looking at have a lower crime rate and the apt/town-home areas have higher rates? I'm living in Tokyo now where I feel safe walking my dog past midnight so safety is important. However, I know we will have to make some sacrifices by choosing to live inside the loop near rice and not being able to afford places west of Rice (like West U.)

Any opinions?

Are there any other safer neighborhoods that sometime sell for under 140k that are about 2m or less from Rice?

Also, if financing goes smoothly what is the avg time it takes to close a house deal?

Here are the MLS numbers of some homes I'm interested in so far (though I think they will be gone by August...)

  • 8855715 3205 CHARLESTON
  • 1913058 2605 ARBOR ST
  • 6948117 3010 SOUTHMORE BLVD
  • 4871043 2619 ROSEWOOD ST

{{{Also, from the other posts about these areas I've noticed that some people think race makes a difference in what kind of opinion they give soo... I'm half Japanese/half caucasian, my husband is caucasian. }}}

Thank you!

(((ps. If anyone knows anything about how prevalent dog stealing is in Houston (from backyards) can you tell me??)))

Edited by stefaniedurbin

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Any opinions?

Are there any other safer neighborhoods that sometime sell for under 140k that are about 2m or less from Rice?

Also, if financing goes smoothly what is the avg time it takes to close a house deal?

The short answer is that if you want to be under $140k, in a single-family home, within two miles of Rice, and west of 288, you're out of luck. Your best bet may be to look at new subdivisions such as City Park which are a little further to the south and off of 288. Alternately, you may still be able to find good deals in or near Westbury that work for you and aren't quite as crime-prone.

The alternative is to go for a multi-family option, which to be honest with you is probably a good idea at least for the first several months. That'll give you the opportunity to learn the lay of the land and also to determine how comfortable you are with being urban pioneers east of 288. Also, you may determine that once your husband is done with his Ph.D., it'd be preferable for you to move to a different city (I wouldn't, but there's no accounting for personal tastes). If you buy a place only to sell it within a couple of years, then the way that amortization works, it becomes very difficult for you to make money on the deal as compared to renting. Even if you stay in the Houston area, if you expect that he'll be employed somewhere not in central Houston, then you might end up preferring to move.

Another thing for you to consider is that in addition to buying a home, you'll have to pay property taxes and insurance. If you stay in Harris County, you don't have to buy windstorm and hail insurance, which covers hurricanes. Texas is notorious for high property taxes and sales taxes but no income tax, so that our tax environment is favorable on the whole, but not without caveats. As a general rule for the City of Houston, expect to allocate about 2.5% of the value of a home to property taxes each year, but be aware that there are many exceptions. Use hcad.org to figure out what your prospective home is assessed at and what the tax rate is. If these factors cause you to back off any further from your $140k price, then I'd strongly advise you to rent one way or the other until you can save up enough for a larger down payment.

(((ps. If anyone knows anything about how prevalent dog stealing is in Houston (from backyards) can you tell me??)))

I've never heard of it happening here, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.

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with crime being a major factor for you, the listings you've provide are in areas that most likely would not suite you.

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Hi,

I live in Riverside Terrace with my family. There is crime, but what I've found personally is that the crime happens around you, not to you... drug dealers shoot each others, prostitutes get beaten. I'm afraid this is what I've seen with my own eyes. I don't want my kids seeing this anymore, so we're moving. If it doesn't bother you to see an incident now and then, you might not mind. However, there's no way I'd go walking around at midnight, here or anywhere else inside the loop.

I agree that City Park might be worth looking into. One problem is that it is low-end, which of course is great in terms of affordability, but might attract some less stable people and less stable situations. That could impact on crime.

If I were you, I would look into a small condo in a good neighborhood inside the loop, rather than a house in a sketchy neighborhood. Of course, you have a dog, so that's a potential issue, but there are apartments and presumably condos that take dogs.

I have a friend in Sugarland (a nice suburb where people go to get away from Houston crime) whose house was broken into in the middle of the day and they stole her dog. So it does happen, and can happen in any neighborhood. Wherever you move, remember that while many parts of Houston appear like suburbs and might seem safe, this is a big city and there is crime everywhere. So be careful, have an alarm system and keep your wits about you and you'll be fine.

.

My husband and I are moving to Houston this summer. We don't know much about Houston but will be transfering because he was accepted to a Ph.D program at Rice. U. (never visited, I'm from Boston, he's from S. Oregon) I will be teaching high school, probably HISD. We don't have any children yet but have an active dog and we're tired of apartment life so would like to buy a house at least a few months after we move to Houston.

It seems like most of the homes we could afford (we will have about 20k for a down payment) and are close to Rice (under 2 miles) are across 288 in Riverside terrace, Wilmoth subd., etc. Mostly zip codes 77004 or 77021. Just by looking at HAR.com and ziprealty (etc.) I've noticed that there seems to be (at least on paper) a huge increase in crime stats. For example, on ziprealty they show a graph that shows these areas to have crime rates that are near 400, with 100 being the national average. Is it possible that the SFR areas I'm looking at have a lower crime rate and the apt/town-home areas have higher rates? I'm living in Tokyo now where I feel safe walking my dog past midnight so safety is important. However, I know we will have to make some sacrifices by choosing to live inside the loop near rice and not being able to afford places west of Rice (like West U.)

Any opinions?

Are there any other safer neighborhoods that sometime sell for under 140k that are about 2m or less from Rice?

Also, if financing goes smoothly what is the avg time it takes to close a house deal?

Here are the MLS numbers of some homes I'm interested in so far (though I think they will be gone by August...)

  • 8855715 3205 CHARLESTON
  • 1913058 2605 ARBOR ST
  • 6948117 3010 SOUTHMORE BLVD
  • 4871043 2619 ROSEWOOD ST

{{{Also, from the other posts about these areas I've noticed that some people think race makes a difference in what kind of opinion they give soo... I'm half Japanese/half caucasian, my husband is caucasian. }}}

Thank you!

(((ps. If anyone knows anything about how prevalent dog stealing is in Houston (from backyards) can you tell me??)))

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I would second the rental idea. I moved to Houston in 2001 and bought right away, however looking back a rental unit would have benefitted me greatly. I knew nothing about the city and ended up buying a place that wasn't bad at all, but had I spent 6-12 months looking around and getting to know the city and the neighborhoods, I would have definitely chosen differently.

There are homes in the Heights that can be rented for less than $1000 per month as well. I have a few friends that have bought here and make the commute to the Med Center, and they say its about a 20 min drive and no freeways required.

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As others have said, if you are concerned about crime, you are looking in the wrong area.

I agree with the notion that you should rent first so you can better learn where in the city you want to live.

If you are dead set on buying, I would look into Westwood (77025) and Post Oak Manor (77035). They are a 4-5 mile straight shot up Main St. from Rice.

It's not rare to pick up a house ~$140,000 in those 2 neighborhoods.

flipper

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I live in Riverside Terrace and love it. I would never live anywhere else. (have lived in the burbs) Having said that all Riverside Terrace is not equal. Unfortuately your budget is not going to allow you to live in the parts of Riverside Terrace that are safe and more tranquil. I too would be hesitant to live in the houses you selected. I think others have given you good advice - Rent first and check out areas once you've explored a bit. Whatever you do do not buy in the suburbs, or any masterplanned community until youv'e been in Houston a while. If you don't do generic well the planned communities might be a mistake could also be an expensive one especially if you plan to sell in < 10years.

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Check out Willowbend. I have some friends that just bought in that area and it's really quite nice. I didn't ask the purchase price.

Meanwhile, if you decide to rent, I'd check out the Museum District/Montrose area. That's really close to Rice U.

I totally do not agree with the comment about not being able to walk "anywhere inside the loop" at midnight.

Here's one in Willow Bend ($139.900.). http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cf...mp;backButton=Y

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Meanwhile, if you decide to rent, I'd check out the Museum District/Montrose area. That's really close to Rice U.

I totally do not agree with the comment about not being able to walk "anywhere inside the loop" at midnight.

I second renting in montrose/museum area (I'm biased, of course). And I walk after dark/late often without any problems...

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I second renting in montrose/museum area (I'm biased, of course). And I walk after dark/late often without any problems...

I know. I live in the West U/Med Ctr and people are crawling all over the streets at night with their pups, etc.

Regarding Willow Bend - It's Willowbend (one word). Also, there are some smaller, older homes between Buffalo Speedway/Kirby/S.Main.

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Don't be scared off by all these wusses.

I truly believe that most crime happens to people that are looking for it. If you're not selling or buying drugs, you should be fine.

Don't worry about your dog getting stolen; keep a dog to keep from getting your possessions stolen! It helps if your dog is a barker.

By the way, I can walk my Inner Loop streets at night too...but having a dog doesn't hurt. ;)

I think people are afraid of my mullet, too.

468014585542m.jpg

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I'm glad to hear so many people saying they feel safe walking around at night. I moved here five years from NYC, where it was always clear to me where it was safe to be at night and what areas weren't. Since moving here I've had no idea. BUT, I am quite certain that I should not be walking around Riverside Terrace alone at night.

Don't be scared off by all these wusses.

I truly believe that most crime happens to people that are looking for it. If you're not selling or buying drugs, you should be fine.

Don't worry about your dog getting stolen; keep a dog to keep from getting your possessions stolen! It helps if your dog is a barker.

By the way, I can walk my Inner Loop streets at night too...but having a dog doesn't hurt. ;)

I think people are afraid of my mullet, too.

468014585542m.jpg

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I truly believe that most crime happens to people that are looking for it. If you're not selling or buying drugs, you should be fine.

468014585542m.jpg

IMHO that is the case too.

Also, though, Snopes has some tips on how to avoid "random" crime:

* Snopes evaluates this chain letter about how to avoid random crime and offers its own thoughts: http://www.snopes.com/crime/prevent/ninetips.asp - the important part is not the e-mail discussed, but the important part IS the commentary by Barbara Mikkelson.

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A big "THANK YOU" to everyone who posted advice.

I am thinking now that it will either make sense for us to just rent (either a condo or a house) or buy an affordable condo near rice. I think I am leaning towards the renting. From time to time I have seen some nice homes for lease around Rice for between 750-1400+. This might be our best bet considering (as one poster mentioned) there is a big chance we will need to move after my husband graduates.

7575 Kirby is nice huh?

Also, I'd be thrilled if one of the Braeswood Park condo's with the large fenced green space went on lease. I can only hope. ^_^

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Condos, townhomes, and duplexes are on and off the market all the time...Houston has a large selection in nearly any price range and location. Keep your eye on HAR.com and Craigslist.org.

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My husband and I are moving to Houston this summer. We don't know much about Houston but will be transfering because he was accepted to a Ph.D program at Rice. U. (never visited, I'm from Boston, he's from S. Oregon) I will be teaching high school, probably HISD. We don't have any children yet but have an active dog and we're tired of apartment life so would like to buy a house at least a few months after we move to Houston.

It seems like most of the homes we could afford (we will have about 20k for a down payment) and are close to Rice (under 2 miles) are across 288 in Riverside terrace, Wilmoth subd., etc. Mostly zip codes 77004 or 77021. Just by looking at HAR.com and ziprealty (etc.) I've noticed that there seems to be (at least on paper) a huge increase in crime stats. For example, on ziprealty they show a graph that shows these areas to have crime rates that are near 400, with 100 being the national average. Is it possible that the SFR areas I'm looking at have a lower crime rate and the apt/town-home areas have higher rates? I'm living in Tokyo now where I feel safe walking my dog past midnight so safety is important. However, I know we will have to make some sacrifices by choosing to live inside the loop near rice and not being able to afford places west of Rice (like West U.)

Any opinions?

Are there any other safer neighborhoods that sometime sell for under 140k that are about 2m or less from Rice?

Also, if financing goes smoothly what is the avg time it takes to close a house deal?

Here are the MLS numbers of some homes I'm interested in so far (though I think they will be gone by August...)

  • 8855715 3205 CHARLESTON
  • 1913058 2605 ARBOR ST
  • 6948117 3010 SOUTHMORE BLVD
  • 4871043 2619 ROSEWOOD ST

{{{Also, from the other posts about these areas I've noticed that some people think race makes a difference in what kind of opinion they give soo... I'm half Japanese/half caucasian, my husband is caucasian. }}}

Thank you!

(((ps. If anyone knows anything about how prevalent dog stealing is in Houston (from backyards) can you tell me??)))

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At 140K, within 2 miles, you might find a small (800-1000sf max) condo in a nice complex or a 1,400 s/f low end (but fairly new) house in a blue collar neighborhood like 77021 currently is...no place in America is like Tokoyo with safe walks at midnight (except on Rice campus) and then I'd be hesitant.

We moved into our build on your lot home in the 77021 MacGregor Park Estates Subdivision about 2 1/2 years ago. My sons' car window was broken last year because someone wanted his large CD collection he left out in plain view ..it was at night on the end of our driveway and we didn't hear it, but we think his new alarm will run the next burgular away. I also had my little storage building broken into and stuff was lifted. The thief was a crack head that was occassionally hired to wash the car of my neighbor across the street (they go way back) and the drugie observed me saving the lawn mower which he sold that afternoon. I caught him a week later when one night he was trying to take our patio set off the back porch...it's so funny (now) to think of when I got into my car to chase him down the boulevard with my bristo set on his back...(he was arrested). This was a few months right after we moved in and I hadn't yet put up the 7 1/2 ft fence that's up now. When I lived in the suburbs (border of Houston on the line of Missouri City), we were burgularized three times in 20 years...a high school was two blocks away that apparently kept recuiting new members that burgularized the area for almost a decade before it was finally broken up. It's just amazing how prevalent crime seems to be in Houston, everywhere..and the type I've experienced is by opportunist for fun, or money for drugs. Incidently, that 400 score is probably too low since we recently learned that the police dept. has been "unintentionally" classifying crimes in a manner that has it appearing to be at a lower rate than it is in actuality.

If you do eventually come near to 77021, and east of 288. I'd strongly suggest you stay north of Griggs Rd and Old Spanish Trail, and better to stay close to S MacGregor if you can find something decent for your budget. The west side of 288 is good immediately south and inside of 610 South Loop. A new development on Almeda Rd (just south of 610) has some nice condos just coming up that will have professionals most likely and it will be not more than 4 or 5 miles from Rice. I think they may fall into your budget. There are also some condos on 610 South Loop near Kirby that would be about 4 miles or less from Rice. These should not be too expensive although I honestly can't say what range they run.

My wife and I are both HISD employees (in our 50's) and my son goes to Rice U. We live in a 3,400 s/f $320K (tax roll) house on a 70X150 ft lot (which gives me big 40ft front yard and 40 ft back yard) three blocks southeast of U of H. We built here intending to stay another 15 or so years. The area has high dollar homes right along with rinky dinky 50-60 year old homes occupied with mostly older people around us. When I first moved in the area, I noticed more "crazy looking people" in general because there are pockets of drug dens and poverty in the area. One-on-one violent crime is unheard of to my knowledge in the area however, so unlike the guy that said he noticed violence in RT, I haven't seen or heard of any around this part, but then, I won't go walking ANY street in Houston after 9 or 10 PM unless it's an emergency. Much of the serious crime is apparently around us, heard and seen on the news, and if you're not involved with their sort of activities, then you'll proably not get involved with their crime either. The addresses you listed are typical of this area, really nice a few blocks and then somewhat ratty around the corner or down a few blocks......Have you used google satillite to get visuals of the areas of these addresses you listed? Closing should take about a couple weeks, three weeks at most I'd think, if everything checks out fine. Except for new condos along 288 near to these addresses, the old established neighborhoods are 80% to 90% predominatedly black, (like me) but that's changing as a more diversified wave of folks are returning to the inner city, in part by high fuel, but even before then, they, like us, came to realize, you may as well pay the higher inner city tax rates or spend replacing the car more often while spending more time stuck in traffic.

My husband and I are moving to Houston this summer. We don't know much about Houston but will be transfering because he was accepted to a Ph.D program at Rice. U. (never visited, I'm from Boston, he's from S. Oregon) I will be teaching high school, probably HISD. We don't have any children yet but have an active dog and we're tired of apartment life so would like to buy a house at least a few months after we move to Houston.

It seems like most of the homes we could afford (we will have about 20k for a down payment) and are close to Rice (under 2 miles) are across 288 in Riverside terrace, Wilmoth subd., etc. Mostly zip codes 77004 or 77021. Just by looking at HAR.com and ziprealty (etc.) I've noticed that there seems to be (at least on paper) a huge increase in crime stats. For example, on ziprealty they show a graph that shows these areas to have crime rates that are near 400, with 100 being the national average. Is it possible that the SFR areas I'm looking at have a lower crime rate and the apt/town-home areas have higher rates? I'm living in Tokyo now where I feel safe walking my dog past midnight so safety is important. However, I know we will have to make some sacrifices by choosing to live inside the loop near rice and not being able to afford places west of Rice (like West U.)

Any opinions?

Are there any other safer neighborhoods that sometime sell for under 140k that are about 2m or less from Rice?

Also, if financing goes smoothly what is the avg time it takes to close a house deal?

Here are the MLS numbers of some homes I'm interested in so far (though I think they will be gone by August...)

  • 8855715 3205 CHARLESTON
  • 1913058 2605 ARBOR ST
  • 6948117 3010 SOUTHMORE BLVD
  • 4871043 2619 ROSEWOOD ST

{{{Also, from the other posts about these areas I've noticed that some people think race makes a difference in what kind of opinion they give soo... I'm half Japanese/half caucasian, my husband is caucasian. }}}

Thank you!

(((ps. If anyone knows anything about how prevalent dog stealing is in Houston (from backyards) can you tell me??)))

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