Should You Buy for the House or the Neighborhood?

published Aug 12, 2015
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Q: Hi! So, my partner and I live in the Cleveland area and are running into a few problems as first-time home buyers. We currently rent in an area that has tons of cute neighborhoods and we can walk and bike to our favorite restaurants, coffee shops, and record stores. However, when we look at homes on the high end of our price range to buy, they are shabby, on the outskirts, or would cost quite a bit to fix up. It could take years to have them the way we want, and as eternal renters, we are sick of living in places that need work. On the other hand, we’ve found beautiful, perfect homes at the top of our budget that need NO work whatsoever, but are in less desirable neighborhoods where there’s nothing around, nary a coffee shop…

We would have to drive at least 15-20 minutes to get to any place that we like, and some of these neighborhoods scarcely have any parks or non-chain restaurants. And since it’s Cleveland, some of these neighborhoods are more or less run down. So our question is this: as first-time home buyers at 35 years old, do we buy for the HOUSE or the NEIGHBORHOOD? We are stressed out and confused and any advice would be AWESOME!! Thanks! -Sent by Jessica

Editor: Readers, do you have any experiences and pieces of advice to share with Jessica? I don’t- though I will say that I get very stressed out whenever someone on Property Brothers says something like, “We decided to go with the bigger house in the middle of nowhere because we could really use the extra 5 square feet, even though the smaller house is in our very favorite part of the city” or “Well, it will double my commute but I love the countertops!”

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