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Buying First Home In Sharpstown - Any Advice For New Homeowner


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Hi there fellow Houstonians, I am a first time buyer looking to purchase a home soon.

I am 25 years old and do not have any kids so I am not very concerned about the school district, my price range is up to $150k and am only looking to buy a single-family 1900+ sq/ft

I am specifically looking to purchase a home in West Houston (between 610 West and Beltway 8). It looks like the areas that can fit my criteria are Sharpstown and Fondren SW.

Everybody has been telling me to stay away from Sharpstown because of the high crime rate but I have a notion that for these prices any home will be in a high crime rate area.

Is Sharpstown really that bad? Is it worse than Fondren SW - Braeswood & Fondren area? I used to live on Westheimer and Fondren and would take long walks at night - I always felt secure and never had any problems.

One thing that is probably important to add, I am planning to live there for a few years and sell or turn it into an investment property after then.

Does anyone have any experience with that area or any suggestions about other locations that will fir my search criteria?

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I used to live in Fondren SW and frequently visited friends in Sharpstown (east and west of 59). I have witnessed a home invasion in Sharpstown (2007) and heard 10 gunshots in Fondren SW (very recent). I would say the farther you are from apartments and major thoroughfares, the safer it gets. Most of the crimes are concentrated around apartments and businesses.

Just going by my gut feel. I would say Sharpstown stands a better chance of improving sooner than Fondren SW (think HBU, Bellaire chinatown, Sharpstown middle new construction). If by investment property you mean rental, then I would buy based on your future potential rent income. Both areas have neighborhoods that target working class tenants, so there is potential there. I would not bank on appreciation though, probably not for a few decades.

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I lived in Sharpstown from the halcyon days up until the early 00's. I still have family there and am not "afraid" to go there. My family lives in one of the neighborhoods, not the apartments.

There is a mix of people, but I know a few families who are there for the private schools and who are there for the value.

The negative reputation is over-blown with regards to the actual single-family neighborhoods. However, that does not mean that you should not be aware of your surroundings.

My thought is to stay away from things surrounding the mall.

Edited by lilyheights
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Are you fluent in spanish?

No, I do not speak spanish :)

Looks like Sharpstown is full of immigrants, that's OK though because I am an immigrant myself.

At this point I have a growing business and do not want to have a large loan because I want to keep investing in my business.

Spring Branch is another option, but the prices there are a little higher - decent homes there will start from 170k-180k

Can you recommend any other other areas in West Houston where I can buy a single-family home for about 150k?

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It is getting more difficult to find homes in the $150,000 between the beltway and 610 Loop. If you are a first time home buyer, the most likely financing you should use will be an FHA type loan unless you are a vet which has 0% down. Crime in the Sharpstown or any area can be assessed by going to www.houstoncrimemaps.com/zip . Enter the zip code you are looking at and it will give you back the crime statistics. Basically, the closer in to Houston, the higher the cost per square foot. Be wary of the fixer uppers because the needed repairs might cause a problem on the financing side. Speaking of financing, you should obtain a mortgage company's pre-approval. You'll need this to submit an offer on any home that you are interested in buying. Let me know if you have any addition questions. Please visit my website at John Henry Properties .

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I've lived in Sharpstown off and on for about 30 years. IMHO - crime is mostly overrated. However, there are some areas to steer clear from - I wouldn't advise you to invest in the Fondren SW area - I just don't think it is going to be "revitalized" any time soon. The area around Gessner/Bellfort, Gessner/Braeswood areas don't seem to be too great, investment wise.

I live near the southwest side of the Bellaire/Gessner intersection - on very still nights, we DO occasionally hear gunfire coming from, typically people driving down Gessner or Beechnut or the apartments down on Beechnut . But we also have families and couples and single people taking walks, walking their dogs, out with strollers, both in the morning and early evenings. People walk over to Chinatown from my neighborhood. IMHO the most dangerous thing is the traffic on Gessner and on Bellaire. Houston is a big city - potential danger is going to lurk everywhere.

The area west of Hillcroft/Bellaire, IMHO might be the first part of Sharpstown to see an increase in property values - its proximity to town, and the easy tear-down possibilties. However, on the west side of Sharpstown, it's doing pretty well because of Chinatown.

There are a lot of immigrants living in Sharpstown - that's what makes it a particularly cool place to be. You are very close to the South Asian businesses at Hillcroft/59 and the Harwin shopping district as well as the Asia/China town area. There are some beautiful homes north of Bellaire between Fondren and Gessner, just off the golf course - however - some of them back on to fairly low-income areas facing Harwin and Gessner respectively - something to consider.

Check the owner history - some of the houses have had one owner (and those are the GEMS) and some have had multiple owners - or have been rental houses - which can really bring down the quality of the house. Check the foundations, as a lot of Sharpstown homes have had foundation issues. If you can talk to the neighbors about the house - try to do so - I know in our neighborhood there is a very pretty house with a somewhat dark secret - someone who buys it could be in for a lot of nightmares trying to repair the damage on the inside.

Good luck in your search!!

P.S. if you're buying to rent - be a good owner and do a favor for those of us who live here - keep track of who is living in your house and make repairs when necessary. :-)

Edited by Houstonia
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