We want to move into an up-and-coming neighborhood, but our family’s putting us off!

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Isolated Building Study 73 (Residential Rehab)

Etsy addict asks:

My husband and I both work downtown in a small southern city. Back when we were kids, you’d be nuts to be caught downtown after sundown, but these days the area has been really revitalized with tons of restaurants, festivals, condos, etc.

While there are still areas you don’t want to be caught in after dark, a lot of the once sketchy neighborhoods have started to clean themselves up and become nice places with 1940s bungalows and ranches available for CHEAP! My husband and I have found one such bungalow across the street from one of the best magnet elementary schools in our city — there’s a playground right next door, it’s within walking distance of our work, and the city greenway runs beside the property. It’s amazing!

We mentioned to our parents we were thinking of buying in this neighborhood and my mother-in-law FLIPPED OUT. “YOU’RE GOING TO RAISE CHILDREN IN A CRACK DEN?!” Those were her actual words. Now my husband is shying away from buying this house and talking about living in the suburbs.

Do any of you Offbeat Homies live in a “sketchy” neighborhood? How is your experience living in such a neighborhood? What sorts of challenges do you face? If can talk rationally with my mother-in-law about other people’s experiences in such a neighborhood, maybe it will calm her fears.

Comments on We want to move into an up-and-coming neighborhood, but our family’s putting us off!

  1. DONT DO IT! Your parents are right!!! My sister and I moved into what my parents had deemed as a ‘bad block’ recently for college, and our door was KICKED IN a month after we moved in!!!! We werent there (thank god!!!) but 2 weeks later, some strange man was knocking, knocking, knocking at our door at 2am (the same time of night our door got kicked in…)

    I didn’t listen to my parents when we were picking the place because they were making negative comments about the demographics, and I thought, ‘oh, they are just being bigoted.’ well my block sure showed me who was right. Oh, and my bike got stolen off my front porch, along with a SMALL PINK PLASTIC TOOLBOX. it looked like a CHILDREN’s TOY and they stole it off my front porch, which my window (right next to my bed) faces! aaaah!

    This may be one of the few times you ever, ever hear me say this, but: I WAS WRONG! MY PARENTS WERE RIGHT!

    • So sorry you had a bad experience! This is why checking/comparing crime stats and spending time in the neighborhood before you move is essential! I love my “sketchy” neighborhood, which some people who might be referred to as bigots hate, but the crime is actually fairly low, and my neighbors are great.

  2. While we don’t live in town at the moment, and our area isn’t bad – the steroe type is. A few months ago we moved into a mobile home park closer to our target area. And my MIL let us know just how she felt, lol. Her exact words “How do you plan to raise a baby in a trailer?”~ ugh. But in our quest to downsize our home and footprint on life…we bought it. This gets us one step closer to our goal of a small homestead. Not everyone in our family understand what we are doing, but it works for us and who really gives a shit what others think? You can always visit them at thier house! lol….like we do 😉

  3. My partner and I (we’re renting) moved to an apartment on the border of our city’s central area and one of it’s worse reputation suburbs, at first our families and friends thought we were a bit crazy. My parents started looking feverishly for places for us in nicer suburbs that they honestly didn’t understand we couldn’t afford and wouldn’t be considered old enough for. But I’ve found that having them over, even to drop in casually, has received only positive reactions. Over the time we’ve been here I’ve only had to call the police twice, for alcohol fueled street violence that has been between people who know each other already. There was probably more crime in my old student neighborhood than there is here, and our apartment is of a far better quality than the places we used to rent close to our university (for the same price). I wouldn’t raise a child here, but that is primarily because our city suffered some severe earthquake damage recently and it is eerie living in the centre- there aren’t many restaurants, stores or businesses around us anymore and I’d want a child of mine to be surrounded by a bit more of a community vibe. Overall, given the city’s current rental crisis, the fact we’re under 25 and have fragile finances…I feel totally lucky and excited to be where we are right now.

  4. Ok — here’s our situation. The house is perfect hubby and I totally loved it. The neighborhood is great and I mena for blocks — the neighborhood is nice…BUT the town has a bad rep. Poor schools, not walkable (but it’s the ‘burbs), 1 hour commute to NYC. Our realtor who showed the placed loves the town but his children are grown. We’d have to send our little one to private school but he’s already going to private school. Oh and did I mention the price is TOTALLY right! What am I overlooking here — other than the opinions of those who don’t like the town.

    • Nothing. Other then people visiting. If the town has that bad of a rep, and you want your friends to come and visit you they might not if the rep is really that bad.
      Other then that, it sounds like you’ve thought it through. The only people that have to live there are you and your family. After their opinions, every one else’s are pretty much just noise.

  5. We just bought a home in an area that isn’t as nice as where we rented. It was a great deal and we love it. I was apprehensive at first and driving there for the first couple of weeks, passing by more rundown houses I had a few “oh shit, what did we do” moments.

    We can’t leave our windows open while we sleep anymore and we’re more diligent about deadbolting, but otherwise I think it was a good decision. The neighbors are fine and the sketchy people passing through are minimal. Most of them leave us alone anyway. Just be aware of your surroundings and use your better judgment, for anyone who is looking to buy a house in a more rundown area. Some parts of my city are legitimately unsafe, while others are merely not as well-tended as others.

  6. I agree with a lot of the previous comments regarding checking out the recent crime statistics. We just bought a house in the good side of the “bad part” of town (full disclosure, we live in a city with one of the lowest crime rates for its size in the US, but the trailer parks in our area are SUPER sketchy). Several of our friends’ reaction was basically, “nice knowing you.” I checked out the sex-offender website before we closed on the house and found that we had fewer sex offenders near us (the closest is a couple streets away but the other two are pretty far away) than pretty much every other neighborhood in our county.
    Our neighborhood is really quiet and we were able to afford a much nicer (and bigger!) house than if we’d moved to a “better” part of town. Our area is slowly starting to gentrify (a neat concert venue just opened up and there are several microbreweries and trendy brewpubs) and we live only a short walk to a lovely greenbelt trail.
    I agree with one of the first comments that the best way to silence the naysayers is to show them what you love about the area. We had several friends who dismissed our neighborhood until they visited and saw how nice our place is. If you love it, they will too 🙂

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