Rental property/location opinions requested

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    If this choice is between a mediocre school where there would be slightly more than average drugs/violence (not extreme or at the upper end of the spectrum) but a good neighborhood with all desired amenities; a little further from work; cost a little more


    a school better than average re. standardized testing, lower crime/drugs, etc, but worse neighborhood (questionable), costs less, closer to work, most amenities but a YMCA within 2 miles....

    which would you choose? And take into consideration we're talking senior year of high school and possibility or second half of junior year- depending on where he's sent for the few few mos upon release (group home area or home and alternative school or mainstream).

    I'm going to look at them today. I'm thinking the 2nd one I describhed unless the neighborhood is intolerable -I'll check the online neighborhood crime reports, too.

    However, difficult child being able to look out his br window and see the community swimming pool might help motivate him a little. Surely the boy has got some hormones in gear somewhere. LOL!
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    That's a difficult call...I think you can't really tell until you've spent some time in each neighbourhood.

    Do you have to make a decision quickly, or do you have time for multiple visits? I find that to get a proper feel for what a neighbourhood is like you have to visit it at several different times of day:
    - when everyone's leaving for school and work
    - mid-day
    - when school lets out
    - when everyone's coming home from work
    - evening
    - late at night

    That way you get to see what really goes on there, not just what you can see when the real estate agent or landlord is trying to show the place off to best advantage.

    That said, based on just the information you've provided about each option my first impulse would be to go with better school/closer to work/lower cost/nearby YMCA

  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I hate the thought of living in a crummy neighborhood, but considering that my daughter spent maybe 5% of her time at home in HS, I'd go with-the school. on the other hand, my son is more of a loner and into computers, so he's home more often, but then, he doesn't even leave the house to walk around unless I make him.
    It's a tough choice.
  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It is very interesting that the questionable neighborhood have the better school and the better neighborhood have the "tougher" school - it is usually the opposite. You know you can always find out if the better school accepts out of zone students. That's what we do. difficult child went to both out of zone middle and is now highschool.

    Personally, I think it also depends on how much time he will be spending alone.

  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    If you want to stay in this place longer than a year, I think you need to look at which one is better for YOU.

    Also, with difficult child's history, which one has a quicker response time from the local police?
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Trinity's suggestion is spot on. When I was a Realtor that is exactly what I suggested potential purchasers do to get a true feel for the neighborhood when it was one that I didn't know for sure was aok. Realtors were not allowed to say anything about religious or ethnic breakdowns etc. and sometimes I wasn't sure if it would be a compatible match. It's amazing the info that was gained by multiple visits at different times of day. Great idea. Visit the Y, too. DDD
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Also you dont know exactly what they mean by tougher neighborhood if you are looking online at a statistical info thing. Sometimes numbers can be misleading. If you looked up my house, we had 21 calls to the police/rescue. That would sound pretty bad. Not to add in all the other calls locally. However, we live rurally and not a bad area. I just didnt have an issue with calling the cops everytime Cory turned he got hurt, I had the ambulance...etc.
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I was going to say the same thing...

    is the "worse" neighborhood more of a "working-class" area vs a "keeping up with the Jones" area? In which case, working class will save you a lot of headaches every time.
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Personally I'd go for good school plus dodgy neighbourhood... :)
  10. keista

    keista New Member

    I agree with Janet. The street a friend lives on is really not good and I would never want to live there, but police calls are minimal. Why? No one there is in their right mind to call the police - popo must stay out of their biz. Good news for friend is that a sheriff now lives on the street.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jamie lives in a townhouse in what I would call a rather iffy neighborhood. Either the first or second time I was there the neighbors across the street had an all out brawl in the middle of the night with the husband and teenaged son. Wife was in the street screaming for someone to call the cops. I was still awake out on the porch smoking a cigarette. I ran up the stairs and got Jamie. He came downstairs, went outside to see what was going on because I figured...heck, shouldnt he be doing this? Well...turns out the 15 year old is bipolar and he came home late and dad was ticked off so they got into a fighting match. Jamie calmed them all down and told them it happens all the time...go get some counseling, get kid on medications, blah blah blah. LOL. He told them it happens in the best of families, happened in his, no problem, he didnt mind getting woken up, go to bed, get a good nights sleep, he didnt make a report...nighty night.

    So who knows what anything means on a report about an area. Jamie is the local crime fighter in his area. No one worries about anything there.
  12. seriously

    seriously New Member

    I agree with the comment that you should first focus on YOUR long term needs/preferences then your son's.
  13. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    The numbers can be misleading too. It could be just that there is a higher concentration of people in one area vs. the other, such as apartment complexes, etc., that would result in more calls. It does seem strange that the better school would be in the less desirable neighborhood.
  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't define "better school" or "better neighborhood" simply by their numbers. We live in an older neighborhood, lots of people who bought their houses when their kids were young and stayed forever, and due to boundary changes, our nearest school pulls from some not so great apts that aren't really in the neighborhood. The HS Miss KT went to, while not "the top" based on test scores, had the best cross-section of students, both ethnic and financial, and was not the place where you drove your very own BMW to school. Every place is going to have their own set of problems.

    Definitely visit the neighborhoods at night, on weekends, and other odd times.
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Here's an update- both schools are in the same sd and both do well on standardized testing, etc, it's just one is, let's say 7 or 8 on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the best, and the other is a 5. Hoever, they have moved the sd's International Bacculaureate program to that one so some people are saying it's improving- mind you that these are the people trying to rent out the property. In general, the neighborhoods are better around that better school but keep in mind, I'm looking for a rental not an established neighborhood to buy in. And those homes for rent are WAY out of my price range. That area around the school (the better one) was lovely for the most part, with "pockets" or townhomes (privately owned and some typical rental complexes) and it's those "pockets" that are in bad shape and look a little run-down. I didn't call to see inside once I saw the cul-de-sac.

    The other school's jurisdiction draws from a wider range of neighborhoods, some of which are higher crime and known for more drugs. This complex is one of the nicer (not the nicest) neighborhoods for that school. I haven't heard that they are bad for gangs, as compared to some other neighboring jurisdictions, but.... Anyway, there are two identical condos there for rent and these are the ones further from work. I was able to run home for a bit this afternoon and check listing and found a 3rd condo in a different neighborhood which is a little larger but has another condo upstairs of it. These first two are two story and have no unit above them- only beside- but they are small. Nice, but small. I'm going to look at this third one tomorrow. It has the same amenities as the other two. The other two are about 1 1/2 mile from the hisgh school (assuming difficult child ever makes it back to a mainstream HS) and this third one is in a neighborhood behind it. That could be a double-edged sword.

    Of course I wish I could be in a middle class/professional neighborhood that has great schools again but I simply can't afford it and won't be able to again, at least before difficult child turns 18-19yo. And I'm not so sure difficult child being a difficult child in one of the best schools in that sd is a good thing for him transitioning, although it sure would help on a college app if he graduated from it.

    I have to move in Oct and am out of town next week. I don't want to cut it so tight that I'm left with whatever I can find available.
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks for all these responses- I didn't realize there were 2 pages at first! JJJ, oh- yeah- one of those first 2 has a security system (hopefully with a panic button). Unfortunately, I simply can't trail thru the neighborhood late at night. I'm always having to get up relatively early and this area takes me about 20-30 mins to get to it- all the areas I'm considering do. But the nicer one I talked about is clearly going to be quieter- more settled occupants, etc. The occupants are mostly older retired people or young families. Apparently there aren't many teens in it- is that good or bad?

    Now to try to clarify "neighborhood" and so forth- assume we're talking about Washington Difficult Child (we're not but most can visualize it better). OK, if you live there, you come to know that some areas are better than others. I don't know how Difficult Child works, but let's say there are 3 sd's that serve Difficult Child and each sd has 6 high schools. I haven't found anything feasible for rent in the best high school's jurisdiction. The second best serves an area that is more circular in area and most of those neighborhoods are very nice, with the exception of these small pockets of townhomes. So, difficult child would live in a dumpy cul-de-sac (trust me- that one is) but travel a mile to and from school thru a very nice neighborhood. Then, say these nicer condos are in the high school zone that is fourth best out of those 6, only because it's zone is shaped more like a strip and one end of that strip neighbors a very bad area- known for crime, etc. The other end of the strip is nice and the part in the middle is mediocre. This compex is in the nicer end and is adjacent to the best school's zone, which has the nicest homes, shopping, etc. I wouldn't even consider living in the 5th or 6th zone.

    Now, regarding this particular town/sd as a whole, it's better than any of the neighboring towns/sds. I do want to be comfortable in it and I know I better. LOL! But I have also learned that having a difficult child can end up costing me a whole lot more if he messes up so I have to give him a shot at having constructive things to do around him. I just don't know which is better or worse- more drugs in school or more drugs around the neighborhood, for instance. That would require having a better understanding of what difficult child's downfall is. Is it that he doesn't feel like he fits in at school so seeks out the easist "friends" or is it that he feels lonely and a misfit being the only child of a single working mom and needs more social life around his home/community? It might not matter- he might be darn determined to self-destruct and I'm hoping for a transitional placement in order to determine that before he comes back to live with me. But I can't wait for that to move and I have no more answers for him right now. I'm leaning toward the nicer neighborhood. For one thing, I don't know if they'll let him go to mainstream school for a while, if ever. For another, if he goes to a transitional placement maybe the nicer neighborhood will help motivate him to "work toward it". And for another, I am going to resent it if I pick the worst one and he messes up. And I'll blame myself, too, for picking that neighborhood.
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That describes the second school's zone much better than I was able to.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well Im gonna assume that if a kid wants to do drugs then he can find them pretty darned easy so I would live in a place you would like to live and figure the school will work itself out. I dont think I would worry so much the school. He will or wont do well there all on his own. You cant decide that.
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Don't assume the better school has less drugs. Have you actually visited the school? You don't have to talk about his problems, but a visit might help you get a feel for if they offer things that would interest him. If possible, pack a lunch and spend a couple hours in a park, watching what goes on in the neighborhood.

    I actually thing the improving school would be better because chances are the adults are paying more attention, trying to work with the kids more rather than knowing they are on top and all is good at their school. I went to a jr high that previously had a super bad rep for drugs, but the year before I went there a new principal and vp came in. We got away with very little, they just had their eyes open and did a lot of things to keep improving the school. Friends in the "good" jr high that year were drinking during class, but since they were at the "good" school no one even suspected it.

    But that is just a thought.
  20. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    True- but I don't want myself or difficult child living in a place where we can look out a window and see the deals at the car in front of the home. Know what I mean?? I'd consider staying in the jurisdiction I'm in but I can't find anything with central H/A, all electric that I can afford is isn't in a dumpy neighborhood. And when I say dumpy, I mean really dumpy. But this is what happens when you live in a small historic town that hasn't had the money to establesh nicer, more typical middle class neighborhoods. The old homes that have been remodeled and rented out as duplexes or whatever are nice and affordable but in a school zone full of gangs and difficult child has been incarcerated with gang members from here and wants to stay away from that school- and I want him to, too. He has made a few enemies along the way, you know, but fortunately so far hasn't given into pressure to join a gang.