House Hunting Journal – Neighborhood considerations

Continuing on the thread of house hunting in Silicon valley – the search for a decent $700K house to buy – yesterday Barbara scratched one folly off her dream list.

One thing that is charming about the downtown San Jose area is the “Craftsman” house. Typically built about 100 years ago, small lot, small house and tons of character. You see some that are extremely well done.

There also happen to be many that fit our price range nicely. So it is not surprising that there is some attraction to them.

However they do have some deficiencies:

  • They are small. Often much less than 1,000 sqft. They were built at a time of simpler pastimes, and really weren’t designed with the concept of a “living room” for the TV or other activities.
  • They are often in neighborhoods that are, uh, sketchy. There is a reason why they are affordable, and that is because they have always been affordable and thus attracted a comparable clientele. Working class, but also a fair amount of crime.
  • They often are in need of a lot of repair. Yes, many/most on the market have upgraded kitchens, with better appliances, but unless a prior owner spent major coin, they often have ancient plumbing and wiring that was designed for much lower draw than the current typical household.

The one that Barbara viewed yesterday had all these flaws. Her comment was that in the middle of the day, the neighborhood didn’t feel safe. What about walking our dogs at night?

It was in the Burbank district of San Jose, just north of Santa Clara, and a place that I used to bicycle through as fast as I could when I rode to SJSU, so it has been sketchy a LONG time.

Any neighborhood that makes our current digs seem like a huge step up, is not a place to consider.

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