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Inner Loop Neighborhoods: Where to Buy?


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Ok guys, I have been a resident of Houston for about a year now and have been renting a place in Midtown ever since. I have finally decided that its time to stop throwing away my money and buy a place. Myself and my-soon-to-be fiancee both work Downtown and feel pretty strongly about not having to drive more than 15-20 minutes to work each morning. Because I am fairly new to the city, and also bc most of the people I work with live in Sugarland, my knowledge of Inner Loop neighborhoods is fairly limited. A friend told me I should visit this site and ask for opinions.

Because I travel alot on the weekends and work late during the week, I dont really have much time or energy to pour into renovating or repairing issues in my home. Consequently, in the initial stages of my search for a new home, I was gung-ho about townhouses because they are new, cheaper and in my mind would need less maintenance. So I started looking around Midtown, Montrose, and Rice Military areas for townhomes that were in my price range. Which by the way is from 170 to 250k. I really liked these areas and found some decent places but then became hesistant to purchase a townhome the more I learned about their resale potential. With my work, I may have to move in 7-10 years so I dont want to be in a postion where I lose money because my place isnt "the new thing on the block".

So then recently I shifted my attention to some smaller single family homes in areas like Montrose, Woodland Heights, Norhill and Houston Heights. Despite the lower sq. ft of these homes, I like the idea of having a yard, a porch, a garage, and storage area. But like I said, I lack the time and expertise to make substantial repairs to an older home. And this area may be a big change for me with regards to the convenience of a place like Midtown where restaurants, bars, and grocery stores are just a few blocks away.

So my question to the forum is this:

Knowing my price range and other concerns, should I give townhomes a second chance or should I continue trying to find the perfect single family home/bungalow?

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Nevermore,

Finding a home or even a nice townhome with decent sqft in the Montrose/MidTown/Rice Military areas will be tough with the price range you have. You can find them but many may be older or require the work you do not wish to perform. A townhome could be a good investment but you need to find a townhome that is distinctive and not just a verticle box stacked around other boxes with approx 12 feet of shared cement to reach your garage. There are some nice townhomes available however I think you will find many on HAIF would suggest going on the restored conventional home.

Have you considered other areas of town such as the East End or Glenbrook Valley. For instance these homes:

1. East End - Fair Oak - RPS Listing

2. Ok I was going to list a the home on Alanwood and Glenloch but all three homes are Roberts so I may get accused of something! But the fact is all beautiful homes well under 250k in good appreciating neighborhoods.

If I were to give you advice I woudl look on the East End or just south of the loop in Glenbrook Valley. The East End is changing quickly just like Midtown did a few years back and still is. Buy a more inexpensive home so that you and your fiancee can eat out, travel, etc... instead of buying in a perceived established market where you are slave to the mortgage each month.

Good luck,

Scharpe St Guy

Ok guys, I have been a resident of Houston for about a year now and have been renting a place in Midtown ever since. I have finally decided that its time to stop throwing away my money and buy a place. Myself and my-soon-to-be fiancee both work Downtown and feel pretty strongly about not having to drive more than 15-20 minutes to work each morning. Because I am fairly new to the city, and also bc most of the people I work with live in Sugarland, my knowledge of Inner Loop neighborhoods is fairly limited. A friend told me I should visit this site and ask for opinions.

Because I travel alot on the weekends and work late during the week, I dont really have much time or energy to pour into renovating or repairing issues in my home. Consequently, in the initial stages of my search for a new home, I was gung-ho about townhouses because they are new, cheaper and in my mind would need less maintenance. So I started looking around Midtown, Montrose, and Rice Military areas for townhomes that were in my price range. Which by the way is from 170 to 250k. I really liked these areas and found some decent places but then became hesistant to purchase a townhome the more I learned about their resale potential. With my work, I may have to move in 7-10 years so I dont want to be in a postion where I lose money because my place isnt "the new thing on the block".

So then recently I shifted my attention to some smaller single family homes in areas like Montrose, Woodland Heights, Norhill and Houston Heights. Despite the lower sq. ft of these homes, I like the idea of having a yard, a porch, a garage, and storage area. But like I said, I lack the time and expertise to make substantial repairs to an older home. And this area may be a big change for me with regards to the convenience of a place like Midtown where restaurants, bars, and grocery stores are just a few blocks away.

So my question to the forum is this:

Knowing my price range and other concerns, should I give townhomes a second chance or should I continue trying to find the perfect single family home/bungalow?

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Ok guys, I have been a resident of Houston for about a year now and have been renting a place in Midtown ever since. I have finally decided that its time to stop throwing away my money and buy a place. Myself and my-soon-to-be fiancee both work Downtown and feel pretty strongly about not having to drive more than 15-20 minutes to work each morning. Because I am fairly new to the city, and also bc most of the people I work with live in Sugarland, my knowledge of Inner Loop neighborhoods is fairly limited. A friend told me I should visit this site and ask for opinions.

Because I travel alot on the weekends and work late during the week, I dont really have much time or energy to pour into renovating or repairing issues in my home. Consequently, in the initial stages of my search for a new home, I was gung-ho about townhouses because they are new, cheaper and in my mind would need less maintenance. So I started looking around Midtown, Montrose, and Rice Military areas for townhomes that were in my price range. Which by the way is from 170 to 250k. I really liked these areas and found some decent places but then became hesistant to purchase a townhome the more I learned about their resale potential. With my work, I may have to move in 7-10 years so I dont want to be in a postion where I lose money because my place isnt "the new thing on the block".

So then recently I shifted my attention to some smaller single family homes in areas like Montrose, Woodland Heights, Norhill and Houston Heights. Despite the lower sq. ft of these homes, I like the idea of having a yard, a porch, a garage, and storage area. But like I said, I lack the time and expertise to make substantial repairs to an older home. And this area may be a big change for me with regards to the convenience of a place like Midtown where restaurants, bars, and grocery stores are just a few blocks away.

So my question to the forum is this:

Knowing my price range and other concerns, should I give townhomes a second chance or should I continue trying to find the perfect single family home/bungalow?

Have you considered purchasing a lot and having your own home built? Check out lot prices on har.com. Area 16 is the Montrose area, area 9 is the Heights and area 4 is the near east side. Asking how much per square foot it costs to build a house is like pricing a car by the pound. With that said you could build for $150 to $175 per square foot and have a quality home.

It's worth considering.

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Nevermore, my wife and I live in an urban loft two blocks outside downtown off west dallas in 4th ward. Location can't get much better for downtown workers. We really don't want to sell, we may rent because of appreciation in this area, but if we can get $209k, we will take our equity and run, we're not greedy. :) Everyone else trying to sell their lofts in the neighborhood are asking around $230k. I think they'll eventually have to come down to earth. I have heard of problems of re-sale with townhomes, but I think location far outweighs that with this neighborhood. My wife actually wanted midtown area when we bought over 2 years ago, but I preferred 4th ward because the location and downtown views and I knew it would appreciate faster.

If you're more inclined to the house/bungalow type thing, I also know of a very nice property in the East End. This house would be $260k in the heights, but it is selling for $183k. It is a little over 1500sf, wood floors, brick bungalow, beautiful home and close to downtown, fully remodeled, and in a nice up and coming neighborhood. If you have interest in these properties or any other, give my wife a call(713-906-5389). She is an agent and would love to help you find your next home. Her name is Enriqueta. Good luck!

Edited by 4thWardBoy
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Knowing my price range and other concerns, should I give townhomes a second chance or should I continue trying to find the perfect single family home/bungalow?

Being a townhome owner myself, you do get more home fore your money, but you also pay a monthly maintenance fee, (more homes might have a yearly one or none) and you might get stuck with a common wall, which is the main reason your townhome may not appreciate as fast as a free standing home.

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Nevermore,

From the Fair Oaks home it is approx 4 miles to downtown houston < 10 minutes. This is all streets by the way it wouldn't make sense to get on the freeway since your so close.

Concerning the $183k home in Eastwood / Jefferson street I walked this home and it's not worth the price. The add on in the back appears to have wood floors but i'm 90% sure they are laminate and if you walk on them notice how soft the floors are. Wouldn't take too long before a foot goes through the floor. Oh yes the kitchen in this house is DATED and SMALL. You can see that home here: Eastwood - Jefferson House - $183k

Best deal going right now is the Fair Oaks, lots of house, updated, and close to downtown in a great little neighborhood.

Good luck,

Scharpe St Guy

Thanks for the advice SS Guy. Unfortunatley I am not very familiar with the East End and Idylwood area. I may have to take a ride out there to find out more. How long of a drive would that be to and from Downtown everyday?
Edited by Scharpe St Guy
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Just keep an eagle eye out and have a realtor do the same. I was able to find a beautifully renovated little home in WH for way under 250K. You just have to be on the lookout and know what you want.

The East End and Idylwood are definatley worth checking out. In fact, before you buy, I always recommend checking EVERYTHING out so you can say you've looked at ALL the possibilities and made an informed decision. Even go check out Oak Forest. Also small homes, not as old as the heights, but you can get some great deals there.

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Concerning the $183k home in Eastwood / Jefferson street I walked this home and it's not worth the price. The add on in the back appears to have wood floors but i'm 90% sure they are laminate and if you walk on them notice how soft the floors are. Wouldn't take too long before a foot goes through the floor. Oh yes the kitchen in this house is DATED and SMALL. You can see that home here: Eastwood - Jefferson House - $183k

Best deal going right now is the Fair Oaks, lots of house, updated, and close to downtown in a great little neighborhood.

I concur. The house on Jefferson is SO not worth $183k.

As for the Fair Oaks house, it has been remuddled to perfection. That could very well hurt resale...old house buyers want charm!! Who wants to buy an old house that looks like a new house, but still has old house problems? Might as well just buy a new house and not have the old house problems.

Just keep an eagle eye out and have a realtor do the same. I was able to find a beautifully renovated little home in WH for way under 250K. You just have to be on the lookout and know what you want.

The East End and Idylwood are definatley worth checking out. In fact, before you buy, I always recommend checking EVERYTHING out so you can say you've looked at ALL the possibilities and made an informed decision. Even go check out Oak Forest. Also small homes, not as old as the heights, but you can get some great deals there.

I'd say take a look at 77018 in general. That includes:

Garden Oaks (Expensive, but nice big lots and big trees)

Oak Forest (A little further from town, 50s ranch type houses mostly)_

Shepherd Forest (Best value in the greater heights area, 1 block north of the loop, 50s ranch type houses as well)

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jm1fd,

Old house that looks like a new house, but still has old house problems?

That sounds like the start of a good thread. I have not walked the house on Fair Oaks but it looks to be well done. Yes they used material that would reflect the styles of newer construction however it still retains it's old routes with the arches in the living/dining room and I would believe the underlying construction of very high quality solid wood.

Nevermore is looking for a home close to downtown and was tossing around townhomes which would contain newer finishes as well. This home is priced quite a bit lower then you could find a decent townhome. I would assume that upon purchase Nevermore would obtain a home warranty for the homes mechanical systems which should negate any issues. New homes have lots of issues/problems as well and quite honestly I would trust the construction of an older home alot more then the construction of a new home. A new home comes with a 1 year warranty (not always but most of the time) so your protection is the same. This home is most likely on pier/block and beam which would make access to plumbing systems simple from a repair standpoint.

New construction DOES NOT equal NO MAINTENANCE or REPAIR.

Scharpe St Guy

I concur. The house on Jefferson is SO not worth $183k.

As for the Fair Oaks house, it has been remuddled to perfection. That could very well hurt resale...old house buyers want charm!! Who wants to buy an old house that looks like a new house, but still has old house problems? Might as well just buy a new house and not have the old house problems.

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just checked out the house on fair oaks. wow. you are right. 2500 sq. feet, beautiful neighborhood, it is not idylwood, be better value than idylwood, imo. this house in idylwood would be over $225k imo. this one won't last long. my wife and i actually want to build a house in this neighborhood. we both work close by and it's a nice, quiet, neighborhood which i believe will appreciate better than idlywood and eastwood over the next several years. feel free to call my wife nevermore if you would like her to show it to you. 713-906-5389. she works about a mile away, so any time that is convenient for you.

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So my question to the forum is this:

Knowing my price range and other concerns, should I give townhomes a second chance or should I continue trying to find the perfect single family home/bungalow?

Unfortunately, Toyota isn't in the home-building business. You simply can't buy a home that isn't going to have problems at some point. You can build one that comes pretty close if you spend a good bit of $$$, but you can't just buy one.

With that in mind, I think that an older remodeled pier and beam would best suit your need.

Keep a close eye on the East End. I've got a home out in Eastwood that has been pending for what seems like an eternity and have been watching MLS as homes have come on and off the market. You've gotta move quick. Many of these things seem to go in a matter of days.

On the other hand, you might also look at condos. I'm in one right now. The advantage is that just about anything behind the coat of paint on your drywall is the responsibility of the HOA if it goes awry. They are the ultimate in low-hassle living.

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Old house that looks like a new house, but still has old house problems?

Right. I seriously doubt the systems and structure of that house have been 100% modernized. Plus it looks like somebody has finished out the attic for a second floor. Was the appropriate load analysis and reinforcement of the structure done to ensure that the work was done properly? Probably not.

Nevermore is looking for a home close to downtown and was tossing around townhomes which would contain newer finishes as well. This home is priced quite a bit lower then you could find a decent townhome. I would assume that upon purchase Nevermore would obtain a home warranty for the homes mechanical systems which should negate any issues.
Home warranty companies don't cover the expensive stuff that usually breaks, and they always use the cheapest, worst quality labor they can find, and fix the problem with the fewest repairs possible, even if replacement is truly a better option.
New homes have lots of issues/problems as well and quite honestly I would trust the construction of an older home alot more then the construction of a new home. A new home comes with a 1 year warranty (not always but most of the time) so your protection is the same. This home is most likely on pier/block and beam which would make access to plumbing systems simple from a repair standpoint.

New construction DOES NOT equal NO MAINTENANCE or REPAIR.

No. But it certainly implies less maintenance/repair, and far, far better energy efficiency. Plus the termites have had less time to chew on new construction, and the foundation will have seen far, far fewer expansion and contraction cycles.

Details and craftsmanship like this are why you buy an old house.

Edited by jm1fd
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Old house that looks like a new house, but still has old house problems?

That sounds like the start of a good thread. I have not walked the house on Fair Oaks but it looks to be well done. Yes they used material that would reflect the styles of newer construction however it still retains it's old routes with the arches in the living/dining room and I would believe the underlying construction of very high quality solid wood.

New construction DOES NOT equal NO MAINTENANCE or REPAIR.

Scharpe St Guy

Well I rode my bike by the house and the pictures didn't show everything. The front is the only part that is bricked. The sides appear to have the original siding. I also noticed at least 1 window unit on the 2nd floor therefore the central a/c is most likely not adequate or perhaps the remodel wasn't a thorough one and didn't insulate the walls. Sounds like it may just be a cosmetic remodel only

Edited by musicman
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Thanks for all the replys everyone. You have definitely given me some food for thought as well as some new neighborhoods to check out. I will take a ride through the Fair Oaks and Eastwood areas today.

Drive through Forest Hill as well; its right around the corner, and there are some incredible houses, plus some not so incredible houses on incredible great big hilly lots. Nice setbacks on some of the streets as well. Some streets are kinda rough tho, and there's not a whole lot for sale in there, but it is worth a look.

Edited by jm1fd
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MusicMan,

Thanks for the update on the home.

In regards to the AC though I think I would have added a window unit along with insulating the walls. I'm kinda cheap so even though my house has a two stage lenox HVAC unit I still installed a window unit in our bedroom so that I could turn the main thermostat up to ~80 at night and use the ceiling fan with window unit to only cool our bedroom.

Not sure how much money I am saving doing this but the thought of cooling the whole house when i'm only occupying 150sqft or so bothers me!!! They may be doing the same with the house on Fair Oak. The lack of brick all the way around though would bother me.

jm1fd: that is a good looking house as well, I love the long sink, place for a massive stove/range and doors on either side. Quite a nice home from the pictures.

Scharpe St Guy

Well I rode my bike by the house and the pictures didn't show everything. The front is the only part that is bricked. The sides appeared to have the old siding. I also noticed at least 1 window unit on the 2nd floor therefore the central a/c is most likely not adequate or perhaps the remodel wasn't a thorough one and didn't insulate the walls.
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jm1fd: that is a good looking house as well, I love the long sink, place for a massive stove/range and doors on either side. Quite a nice home from the pictures.

As well? Come on. How can you compare high end period architecture, cabinetry, and detailing to crap from a late 90s remuddle? The former is irreplaceable! The later can be bought down at Home Despot.

Edited by jm1fd
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Details and craftsmanship like this are why you buy an old house.

The exterior of the house on Leeland is great! The interior definitely needs some help IMO. You can tell nothing has been done to the house to modernize it. The trimwork is nice and should definitely be kept except for the reddish cabinets in the breakfast area. I think i'd rip out the fireplace personally. These just look way out of place.

Edited by musicman
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Well I rode my bike by the house and the pictures didn't show everything. The front is the only part that is bricked. The sides appear to have the original siding. I also noticed at least 1 window unit on the 2nd floor therefore the central a/c is most likely not adequate or perhaps the remodel wasn't a thorough one and didn't insulate the walls. Sounds like it may just be a cosmetric remodel only

The front is brick veneer, the siding is Hardi-plank on the balance of the house. I can certainly see a preference for all brick, but if that combo is a concern then I suppose you can rule out the townhomes since that is what the majority of them offer. They put window units upstairs b/c they rarely went up there and didn't want to pay to heat & cool it all the time. The Pier & beam foundation was completely redone, along with electrical & plumbing. The windows have all been replaced as well. Of course bath rooms and the kitchen were all remodeled. It was pretty thorough. The garage needs help still though.

Cosmetically the house does not have the vintage house look & feel. No two ways around that. If that is a priority then this house would definitely not appeal to you. If you like the look of new construction, then you would probably find it more appealing.

Houston Country Club is a great little area, and one of the best buys around in my book. It is like "Idylwood-light" and you get a lot more house for the money. The curb appeal is not quite what Idylwood has, but it is still a very nice little pocket with an active civic club.

There are also a couple of real deals that just popped up in Glenbrook, one is a big house, about 3000 sq ft on the corner of Glenvalley & Glen Dell. Despite having a Realtor's sign in the yard, it has not appeared on MLS. I called and was quoted $174,900. The one directly across the street sold for $245,000 last year. It is a really nice section of the neighborhood. There is also an estate sale on a 3000 sq ft house on Glen Prairie, but it needs work, for $135,000 range. There must be a catch with that one, it just came up yesterday & I haven't been in it. I know it has old carpet and such, but it could still make a hell of a house for someone wanting to be close in but on a budget.

Edited by rps324
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everyone, I just wanted to say thanks for all the advice you gave me in this thread. After alot of searching and stressing out... my fiancee and have decided to place an offer on a house in Woodland Heights. Hopefully everything works out and the house becomes ours but it is listed at the very top of the range that we can spend. I would appreciate any additional advice you can provide on making the right offer, closing on the house, or maybe just adjusting to a first home. Thanks again guys.

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Congrats on taking the plunge and making that offer!

We just moved into our Woodland Heights home, and love it.

My advice to you at this point (and believe me, I understand the first-time home buying freakout :blink: ) - is make sure you get a good, thorough inspection performed. Also, have a termite inspection done. Every old house has issues, you just need to know how big they are. And this is your only way to protect yourself from getting in over your head with unforseen major repairs on the house. We used Fox inspectors, they were pricey, but well worth the money. They send us a pdf of the report, which is now a handy "what might we have to fix this year" list.

Also, after reading the report, it's good to remember that even with all the little/big problems the inspector found, the house has remained standing for 80 years, and will probably continue to do so, even after you take posession of it. I know I was overwhelmed by all the new things I was going to be responsible for, and was convinced there was no way I could handle actually owning a house. I got over it.

I hope the sellers take your offer, and hopefully we'll see you in the neighborhood soon!

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My advice to you at this point (and believe me, I understand the first-time home buying freakout :blink: ) - is make sure you get a good, thorough inspection performed. Also, have a termite inspection done.

Make sure both the termite and general inspector crawl under the house and spend a good bit of time looking around under there. Also make sure they look for evidence of standing water/poor drainage while they're under there.

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Hi everyone, I just wanted to say thanks for all the advice you gave me in this thread. After alot of searching and stressing out... my fiancee and have decided to place an offer on a house in Woodland Heights.

Congratulations! By far the best neighborhood in Houston :D I know plenty of people who are somewhat disgruntled about owning a house/townhome in West U or Midtown or Montrose, but I have never met a resident of Woodland Heights that didn't absolutely love the place.

Recently I helped a friend look for bungalows in the area, and I discovered that the area realtors seem to be colluding right now to push up bungalow prices...but people don't seem to be fooled, and the sale prices are often well below (by like $15k - $20k) the initial list prices. So, I probably wouldn't sweat (or pump up) your offer if it is reasonable.

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Once again thanks for the replys...we are really looking forward to moving to Woodland Heights. I think we are getting closer to an agreement with the seller on the price and contingencies. It will be nice once that is behind us and we can focus in on this one particular home. I will be sure to get a thorough inspection after the advice you guys have provided. Have a nice day everyone!

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  • 1 month later...

Townhouses may be convenient, but your appreciation potential is compromised. A house consists of two assets: the structure and the land. The structure depreciates like a car, boat, etc. Some homes have "antique" value and can, after a time, retain some value. The land, however, tends to appreciate in the long term at the rate of inflation, plus or minus. So with a townhome, you have less land (the appreciating asset). Moreover, in most cases, you're limited on what you can actually do with the land with a townhome (i.e., you can't tear down if you're attached to someone else!).

Here is some sales data for a couple subdivisions. The first is for a subdivision of townhomes with small (<2000 sqft) lots on W. Dallas. You see minor appreciation, probably less than inflation. The second one is from a nearby subdivision of single family homes with larger (>6000 sqft) lots and shows at least a doubling of property value over the same time period. Unfortunately the second one doesn't have that many data values, but you see my point. FWIW...

subdivision_sales_psf_17533.gif

subdivision_sales_psf_17517.gif

Edited by mpbro
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Unfortunately the second one doesn't have that many data values, but you see my point. FWIW...

I agree with your basic analysis, but I think the lack of data points hurts your argument. According to your charts, from July 2004 to July 2005, the level of increase in the "average sales price per foot" for both townhomes and single-family homes appears to be very close.

Furthermore, assuming the price per square foot represents the price for the entire square footage of the lot, and not the square footage of the house, one could make the argument that townhomes are actually more desireable; hence the higher price-per-square foot number.

Edited by uncertaintraveler
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I agree with your basic analysis, but I think the lack of data points hurts your argument. According to your charts, from July 2004 to July 2005, the level of increase in the "average sales price per foot" for both townhomes and single-family homes appears to be very close.

Furthermore, assuming the price per square foot represents the price for the entire square footage of the lot, and not the square footage of the house, one could make the argument that townhomes are actually more desireable; hence the higher price-per-square foot number.

Yeah, it's impossible to know exactly what happened. FWIW, here is a similar graph from a nearby subdivision of new (2002ish) townhomes, which shows a clear decline (notwithstanding the blue trend curve). I have no doubt that townhomes are not all created equal. I'd be interested to know what separates the men from the boys, so to speak.

subdivision_sales_psf_16088.gif

Edited by mpbro
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Ok guys, I have been a resident of Houston for about a year now and have been renting a place in Midtown ever since. I have finally decided that its time to stop throwing away my money and buy a place. Myself and my-soon-to-be fiancee both work Downtown and feel pretty strongly about not having to drive more than 15-20 minutes to work each morning. Because I am fairly new to the city, and also bc most of the people I work with live in Sugarland, my knowledge of Inner Loop neighborhoods is fairly limited. A friend told me I should visit this site and ask for opinions.

Because I travel alot on the weekends and work late during the week, I dont really have much time or energy to pour into renovating or repairing issues in my home. Consequently, in the initial stages of my search for a new home, I was gung-ho about townhouses because they are new, cheaper and in my mind would need less maintenance. So I started looking around Midtown, Montrose, and Rice Military areas for townhomes that were in my price range. Which by the way is from 170 to 250k. I really liked these areas and found some decent places but then became hesistant to purchase a townhome the more I learned about their resale potential. With my work, I may have to move in 7-10 years so I dont want to be in a postion where I lose money because my place isnt "the new thing on the block".

So then recently I shifted my attention to some smaller single family homes in areas like Montrose, Woodland Heights, Norhill and Houston Heights. Despite the lower sq. ft of these homes, I like the idea of having a yard, a porch, a garage, and storage area. But like I said, I lack the time and expertise to make substantial repairs to an older home. And this area may be a big change for me with regards to the convenience of a place like Midtown where restaurants, bars, and grocery stores are just a few blocks away.

So my question to the forum is this:

Knowing my price range and other concerns, should I give townhomes a second chance or should I continue trying to find the perfect single family home/bungalow?

Hi Nevermore,

In my opinion these are the factors that influence and drive townhome values.....

1. whether the townhome is located in a district where the scools are good. i.e., ideally the elemenatry school should be exemplary, the middle school recongnized and the high school preferably recognized (but doesn't matter that much as long as they have IB or AP or honors program)

2. How many units are in the community (the fewer the better).

3. How many units are owner-occupied or rented (the more rental units there are the more the value declines). The high price over 300k usually don't have this problem. In your price range you will lose money because they will be rented. All banks, appraisers and realtors have access to this data.

4. How upscale are the interirors ie., look for granite counters in kitchen and baths, real stone floors i.e., slate, travertine or marble, double and triple crown in every room, upgraded carpet (berber), stainless steel appliances, wainscott or decorative raised molding on walls, decorative paint colors.

5. aesthetic design and appearance. How the garages appear from the exterior is very important. If you can't see the garages as you drive up to the units the higher the value will be intrinsically. If garage doors are stain grade wood versus paint grade the higher the value. if exterior cladding is stucco or brick the higher the value (i.e., little to no hardi-plank board).

6. if it has a small or tiny yard the better value. land ownership adds a lot of value.

In general a townhome will never appreciate like a home unless it is located in a prime in-town location where housing values are very high like river oaks, piney point village, bunker hill village etc which are all zoned for exemplary rated schools.

This is a good site for townhome information especially new developments

http://www.urbanliving.com/

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Just a quick word to the wise for anyone considering an older home: check with your insurance agent regarding any restrictions. Travelers no longer writes pier & beam houses (even new ones) unless the foundation is enclosed, homes with knob & tube wiring, or homes with asbestos shingle siding. Some carriers won't write a home if the plumbing/wiring hasn't been updated in the past 20 years or if the current roof is layered over wood shingles.

Due to the present personal insurance market, switching carriers is also not as easy as it used to be. A phone call to one's agent could save a lot of headaches. :(

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