Buying a House in a Ghetto: Bad Idea?

I wouldn’t do it. The snow would always be flying and the cold wind blowing.

A friend of mine did this about 6 years ago. Last month, a man was shot and killed in a street fight about 1/2 miles away from his place. In his neighborhood, there is at least one boarded up house on every block right now. There have been a couple of houses that exploded, because someone stole the copper piping, but the gas was still connected. The house behind his was burned down last summer, due to arson.

The good news is, he like his neighbors, and feels comfortable in his home. The bad news is, he doesn’t feel comfortable in the local stores or restaurants. He doesn’t really want to spend time in the yard. The really bad new is, because of the change in the economy and all the vacant homes, his house has lost a ton of value, and he is now upside down on his mortgage, even after 6 years of payments.


With no chance of gentrification (you said “Sopringfield”, not Chicago, Los Angeles or some other city where housing is expennsive, and middle-cvlass homebuyers are getting more adventurous in where they choose to find affordable housing), I’d say “no”. I won’t repeat the reasons others have said: quality of life, schools, crime, neighbors and so on.

Many bad neighborhoods will have enclaves of well-maintained housing, and blocks where no houses succumbed to an encroaching urban prairie. Still, they’re islands in a very stormy urban sea.

Here’s a nice block in Hough; a Cleveland neighborhood devastated by riots in the 1960s, and still considered one of the nation’s most notorious 'hoods. It’s literally a tiny enclave of stability surrounded by bleak urban prairie.

I’ve lived in very rough areas and it was ok.
I’d say go for it myself.
Just so long as you don’t beat me up if anything goes wrong.

The fact that you’re even considering it just goes to show that while you can take the kid out of the ghetto, you can’t take the ghetto out of the kid.

Seriously. You deserve better.

Let me tell you a story: back in 2000, I decided to move to New York for a couple of years. My dad gave me his blessing, under one condition: that I not live in Brooklyn. *His *father, who passed away when I was an infant, had spent half his life working his way out of Brooklyn, and there was no way his grandson would be moving back there.

I tried to tell my dad that Brooklyn was a lot nicer than it used to be, and the parts of it were actually quite gentrified, but he wouldn’t hear from it. I was not to live in Brooklyn, period. And you know what? I see his point.

As the snow flies
On a cold and gray Springfield mornin’
A poor little house is for sale
In the ghetto
And it’s owner cries
cause if there’s one thing that she don’t need
Its a buyer that is just a dweeb
In the ghetto

Is the area gentrifying? If not, then run. I live in a gentrifying area (H Street, NE), and while the neighborhood is getting better, it can be a real pain in the ass. Property crime, neighborhood bums, and all those things are still an issue. There are some restaurants that are nice and there are a bunch more places that I won’t set foot in. I like my neighbors, and a lot of them are great people who are working to get things changed for the better, but I am getting sick of living near the hood.

Is there anything concrete to indicate that things in the overall neighborhood will be better in four years? If the answer is no, then you have your answer.

Try this simple test. Would you feel comfortable letting your wife walk to work? Would you feel comfortable with her walking to the local store? Will she? If not, then it isn’t worth it.

I lived in a rented house that was a tiny nice enclave in a bad neighborhood for a while before we bought our current place. We never really went for walks or to the corner store, just drove elsewhere if we needed something. The neighbors were a bunch of super nice little old ladies who brought us zucchini bread when we moved in and shared from their gardens. Once they are gone, so is the neighborhood. It was fine to rent, but I’d never buy there.

Dont’ do it. My friend was in the same situation as you and bought a large house in a crappy neighborhood. The same house elsewhere would have been over his budget. Yes, he got a lot of house, but he’s had about 5 lawnmowers stolen, had to chain his patio furniture together, had 2 broken car windows, answered the door one morning and had a gun in his face, had laptops stolen out from their kitchen while he slept (scary), and generally just lives with an anxiety that is completely not worth it for having a big house.

How could you ever go to work worrying that you’d be broken into and all your stuff taken while you were gone?

I dont want to come across as a P.C. liberal "I’m in denial"type but I’ve found that when you actually live in the ghetto if you actually talk to and make a connection to the people who already live there then its pretty o.k.
I do not give a flying fuck if people are selling Marijuana,or if people are practicing prostitution,the other stuff I do.

I am an Englishman who has on occasion lived in very,many places.

The people who actually own the houses are fine, it’s the ones who come and crash on their couches and their teenaged grandchildren who are the problem. If the neighborhood behind me had all the freeloaders tossed out and just kept the elderly people who had worked all their lives for their houses it would be a perfectly decent place to live.

The resident homeowners are fine. Ninety five percent of the neighbors are fine. Its the other five percent that can make life in the hood hell. Its also the absentee owners who make it difficult. If they don’t maintain their property, then you get squatters who’ll trash the place or criminals can use as a staging ground to break into the other properties (at least for row houses).

I used to agree with Lust4Life about people dealing weed and the prostitutes, but they attract a criminal element, and if you don’t make a stink about them, then the cops don’t care enough to enforce the other laws.

Also from a financial perspective, unless that neighborhood is getting better, are you going to recoup your investment? Is the neighborhood going to get worse and are the houses going to be harder to sell?

What are the owners like in the enclave? Are they relatively young, the kind who look like they’re settling in for a long time? Or are they, like Zsofia said, elderly people who worked their whole lives to buy and keep up their homes – but are now just hanging on by their fingertips and may die off in the next few years?

Also, have the home owners in the enclave barricaded themselves behind bars on the windows and doors? Does every yard have a home security service sign prominently posted?

Just last month a yuppie living in a fixer-upper in the 'hood was out at work. The police busted down his door looking for criminals and messed the place up something awful! The police, of course, had the wrong address, so their efforts there were for naught. To make things worse, they left the door open and the yuppie’s little dog got out and was run over by a car.

In my suburban neighborhood, we are not all uniformly white, there’s a mixture of Asians, African Americans, and Indians (from India) sprinkled in. Can’t help but notice and wonder, though, some of the younger blacks live the stereotypical 'hood life - saggy pants, hip-hop blaring from their rides, pit bulls and big attack dogs for pets. Not that I expect them to get little poodles and start listening to Harry Connick Jr. but I sometimes wonder how they feel, living in a cheap colonial in End of The Line Park.

“Hi, we’re your new neighbors! Just stopped by to introduce ourselves, and to let you know that if you’re a crack dealer or prostitute, we’re totally fi… oh, you aren’t? Well, that’s nice too. Here, have some zucchini bread!”

Wait…lift weights? Was this a joke, or do people really do that? Do they sit on folding lawn chairs? How do they bench press?

Also, I’m seriously voting for you living in a 2 bedroom in a nicer neighborhood. Springfield’s not going anywhere (my uncle owns apartments near SMU) good anytime soon.

Sorry this is a long post.
Well I ‘think’ I live in the ghetto but I’ve seen worse so am I in an ‘almost ghetto’. Less than 5 minutes over the bridge are beautiful lakeside houses in an ‘exclusive’ village. This side is the po’ side.
there used to be some drug activity by the children of some of the elderly homeowners but then more and more calls were made, there were confrontations by some of the homeowners, etc. and now it is quiet and the police are seen driving quite regularly down the street.

I sometimes complain that my neighbors know the color of my underwear, i.e. they’re super-dooper nosey, they’re known for the classic curtain twitch or just outright step out and stare you down and say something if you’re up to no good. A couple of the old ladies wake up at 3-4 am, rake leaves in my yard, sweep the sidewalk AND our side of the street in front of our houses.
I get nagged into mowing my lawn once a week instead of once every 2 weeks, lol.
Now of course this is cuz they’re home all day and have nothing better to do.
They tell me if they saw a car in my driveway while I was gone. If I tell them I’m leaving, they question anyone who steps on my porch. Once I came home and one was trimming my hedge in my backyard, I mean in instances such as these, you cannot complain, can you?
However just past the stop sign begins signs of boarded houses, crummy yards, etc.

Just throwing another voice to the chorus of “definitely not, no way”. Don’t buy a house that will be hard to sell, don’t buy a house that’s somewhere you’re not sure you want to live, and buy or rent, don’t live in the ghetto if you have a choice.