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Looked at a house in Baltimore last night...


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#1 BSLSeanJester

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 08:38 AM

So yesterday morning while I'm making breakfast my wife calls to me in what sounded like a panic.

 

"Come here and take my iPad!" She's found a house on Redfin that she says is her dream home. Historic. Built in 1920. Newly renovated kitchen. Way more bedrooms than a couple needs. It's in Baltimore. "Is this in a bad neighborhood?"

 

I look at the address on a map. It's in Ten Hills. "No, it's actually a nice neighborhood." I grew up half a mile away in Catonsville. I know the area. Beautiful older houses, mature trees. Lots of shade. It's like Roland Park on Edmonson Ave/Route 40.

 

The price for the house is half, or less than half of what a house in Roland Park would cost. Or on Rolling Road in Catonsville. Or a third of what the house would cost if it were in Bethesda or closer to DC. But the area...it is what it is. Not crime-ridden, but close to some crime-riddled areas. Lots of congestion being inside the beltway.

 

My wife and I are approaching 40. We don't have kids. We feel the need to do something. Make an investment. Take some risk. Do something different. We've been looking at houses in Frederick recently, kicking over the thought of moving to a city where there's walkability to restaurants and entertainment. I work in Frederick. My wife works in Columbia.

 

Anyway, on a whim we contacted a realtor who is a friend and she showed us the house last night. My wife and I fell in love. This isn't necessarily a house in the city, within walking distance to fun stuff, but it's close to downtown. We met friends in the city after we looked at the house and made it downtown in ten minutes using Route 40. But the ride takes you through some bad areas. The roads are horrible. An Uber ride would probably be $15. The MTA bus runs along Route 40 and I'm not against taking the bus. But anyway, the house is amazing. It's huge -- it's just two of us -- but it's the perfect house for entertaining, which we love to do, and it's big enough to have everything we would want -- home office, gym, it has a wood-burning fireplace, brand new kitchen, great outdoor space...

 

The immediate neighborhood is nice. You can tell people take care of their houses and yards here. There's a community pool close by. The question is, do I want to change up my life to move back home, to an area that is congested and close to some crime? Even at such a reduced price for an amazing house, it would be a risk. It's way more money than we spend for our mortgage currently, and I'm worried about the issues in the city impacting the value of the house. Will we end up underwater? Do I want to spend hundreds of dollars a month in city taxes? Do I want to add an extra 20-25 mins to my commute each way?

 

Anyway, that's our first world problem on a Tuesday morning.


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I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?


#2 McNulty

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 08:48 AM

Fortune favors the bold.

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#3 Mackus

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 08:49 AM

Do it.

 

Only downside to me at first glance sounds like your commute to work.  I have a friend who commutes from Canton to Frederick, takes her 45-60 without traffic.  You will have the advantage of being close to 70W, and can figure a way to get there without touching 695 if it's a nightmare, which it often is.  Your wife going to Columbia can also be shitty (it's the commute I make daily), but she can probably take 40 to 29 and avoid 695 to 95S entirely if needed.  

 

I don't know that neighborhood at all, but what I've found regarding crime seeping in from "bad areas" to "good areas" is that it is almost entirely nuisance crime.  You'll get packages stolen off your steps.  If you leave your car unlocked, it might get ruffled through by "door checkers".  Don't leave stuff in your car, ship your packages elsewhere, and then it's probably no different than living anywhere else.  

 

If it's Baltimore City proper, check the property tax rates.  The city is the highest in the state, matching Howard and Montgomery counties.  Baltimore County is lower.  I wouldn't worry about city issues effecting your property value too much, most nice areas in Baltimore have actually risen even after all that bullshit a couple years ago.  Again, I don't know that specific neighborhood, so do your research to make sure it's not a falling market, but if it's holding steady I wouldn't expect it to bottom out because of shit that happened a few years ago.



#4 Nigel Tufnel

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 08:55 AM

You can take Cooks Lane from Rt 40 to the I-70 park and ride, so that part would be convenient, and you should be going against traffic on your commutes.
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#5 BSLSeanJester

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 08:56 AM

Do it.

 

Only downside to me at first glance sounds like your commute to work.  I have a friend who commutes from Canton to Frederick, takes her 45-60 without traffic.  You will have the advantage of being close to 70W, and can figure a way to get there without touching 695 if it's a nightmare, which it often is.  Your wife going to Columbia can also be shitty (it's the commute I make daily), but she can probably take 40 to 29 and avoid 695 to 95S entirely if needed.  

 

I don't know that neighborhood at all, but what I've found regarding crime seeping in from "bad areas" to "good areas" is that it is almost entirely nuisance crime.  You'll get packages stolen off your steps.  If you leave your car unlocked, it might get ruffled through by "door checkers".  Don't leave stuff in your car, ship your packages elsewhere, and then it's probably no different than living anywhere else.  

 

If it's Baltimore City proper, check the property tax rates.  The city is the highest in the state, matching Howard and Montgomery counties.  Baltimore County is lower.  I wouldn't worry about city issues effecting your property value too much, most nice areas in Baltimore have actually risen even after all that bullshit a couple years ago.  Again, I don't know that specific neighborhood, so do your research to make sure it's not a falling market, but if it's holding steady I wouldn't expect it to bottom out because of shit that happened a few years ago.

My wife could take 70W / 29S / 100S and be at work in 15 mins. Neither of us would need 695 which is a huge plus.

 

The house's value has fallen in the last 7 years. The tax assessment has fallen around $40K in that time. City taxes are still outrageous, around $450-500 a month! That's almost half our current mortgage! So if the value does rise, we pay more in taxes. If it falls, we go underwater. Sucks either way! The house sold last June for $65K less than what it's listed for now. I think they did a lot of upgrades. Kitchen is brand spanking new -- the appliances have stickers and tape on them.

 

It's still a big risk. And a luxury risk for us. We don't need this house or a house this big.


I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?


#6 BSLSeanJester

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 08:58 AM

Screw it. Here's the house. Doubt we buy this thing but I'll put it out there. I also think we could come in low, too. A decent chunk lower.

 

https://www.redfin.c...9/home/11220493


I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?


#7 BSLMichaelWeber

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 09:20 AM

That looks like a tremendous house.

It would be kinda funny if you moved into the city based on past comments. :P

But don't let that stop you!

Based on what I know about you, the biggest thing besides your commute may be the travel sacrifices you'd presumably have to make.

#8 BSLRobShields

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 09:22 AM

$5700 in property taxes is a lot. I would guess in the better parts of Bmore County, your taxes would be around 4500 or so for that. So, its high but maybe only $100 a month more.

A similar sized house(in the same community), although one with not as many updates as this appears to have, sold for 425 (above asking) with 12750 in closing costs at the end of June and that house had 8K in taxes!

One on the same street, that was about 300 sq ft smaller, sold for 413K and they gave 8K in closing. That was back in January.

Seems that this house is price fairly well. May be able to get it for a little less since the basement isn't finished but probably not a lot less. Shoot for the closing help.
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#9 BSLSeanJester

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 10:41 AM

That looks like a tremendous house.

It would be kinda funny if you moved into the city based on past comments. :P

But don't let that stop you!

Based on what I know about you, the biggest thing besides your commute may be the travel sacrifices you'd presumably have to make.

The travel limitations is definitely under consideration.

 

Some crime around Ten Hills. Seems insulated from most of it.


I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?


#10 Mackus

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 10:46 AM

So if the value does rise, we pay more in taxes. If it falls, we go underwater. Sucks either way!

 

Just get the homestead credit which will limit the rate at which your taxes will increase even if property value skyrocket.  You also will be able to get the taxes re-assessed at your purchase price, if that is lower than the previous assessment.  It's possible that if it's in the city and they did the rehab wisely, that it has a CHAP historic tax credit, which locks in the taxes based on the pre-rehab purchase price or assessment for 10 years and is transferrable to new owners.



#11 RShack

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 12:17 PM

My wife could take 70W / 29S / 100S and be at work in 15 mins. Neither of us would need 695 which is a huge plus.

 

The house's value has fallen in the last 7 years. The tax assessment has fallen around $40K in that time. City taxes are still outrageous, around $450-500 a month! That's almost half our current mortgage! So if the value does rise, we pay more in taxes. If it falls, we go underwater. Sucks either way! The house sold last June for $65K less than what it's listed for now. I think they did a lot of upgrades. Kitchen is brand spanking new -- the appliances have stickers and tape on them.

 

It's still a big risk. And a luxury risk for us. We don't need this house or a house this big.

 

However much they spent, they'll only get a fraction of it back...

 

Just decide what it's worth to you... that's your ceiling... come in under that, and then leave it up to fate. 

 

Once you know your max price, then it's almost out of your hands... otherwise, it can make you crazy...


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#12 BSLRobShields

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Posted 21 July 2018 - 08:29 AM

Sean...are you guys going after it?
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#13 BSLSeanJester

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 09:53 AM

Sean...are you guys going after it?

Nothing yet. Mulled it over, still looking at some houses in downtown Frederick.

 

Still not sure we can handle a $400K house in a fringey area that could potentially depreciate. City taxes are always tough to swallow too.


I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?


#14 BSLRobShields

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 10:00 AM

Don't buy a house because you think it could hold its value or even go up.  Its just not likely unless you are in the middle of a great market, like right now.  

 

When that bubble bursts (which it will again), everything will go back down.


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#15 BSLSeanJester

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 10:08 AM

Don't buy a house because you think it could hold its value or even go up. Its just not likely unless you are in the middle of a great market, like right now.

When that bubble bursts (which it will again), everything will go back down.

Thing is, Ten Hills is great. I think the neighborhood is insulated from the surrounding areas so there should not be much of a loss of value, if any. But the surrounding area isn't going to get better. It will only get worse. Edmonson Village isn't going to be the next area to see a renaissance. I know that's Baltimore -- neighborhoods and safety varies street to street. I just don't know if I want to plant my stake in the city right now.

But we did see a similar house in Frederick on Redfin that is going for $950K. I actually think the Baltimore house was nicer in many ways. For $500K less.

I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?


#16 BSLRobShields

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 10:29 AM

Thing is, Ten Hills is great. I think the neighborhood is insulated from the surrounding areas so there should not be much of a loss of value, if any. But the surrounding area isn't going to get better. It will only get worse. Edmonson Village isn't going to be the next area to see a renaissance. I know that's Baltimore -- neighborhoods and safety varies street to street. I just don't know if I want to plant my stake in the city right now.

But we did see a similar house in Frederick on Redfin that is going for $950K. I actually think the Baltimore house was nicer in many ways. For $500K less.

Its a gamble for sure.  There is no doubt.  What you describe is personally why I would never consider living in the city.  Still, there are areas down there where pricing should stay pretty good because of its desirability.

 

And again, the taxes are high but probably only $80-120 a month more than in the county for something similar.  That's not nothing but its not a ton of money either.

 

Without looking, I would guess a lot of Frederick is getting very expensive because you have so many people who work in DC living there.  That's only going to cause to balloon up and that isn't likely to be effected too much by a bubble burst because of the presence of DC/NOVA.


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#17 BSLSeanJester

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 11:05 AM

Rob, the DC/NOVA suburb thing is definitely going on in southern Fred Co -- Urbana especially.

 

Not sure where people work in Frederick proper. But there's a lot of jobs here though, especially when you consider military/government and healthcare. Also a lot of science and tech industry here too.

 

As for the Bmore house, I was talking with people in another city-specfic forum about Ten Hills and someone said he and his fiance are considering moving there. I told him we may be gunning for the same house. LOL.


I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?





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