House vs Condo in San Elijo

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Submitted by VistaGuy on August 13, 2015 - 12:23pm

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to get some opinions on the best options for a long term investment. We have 3 young kids with one set for kindergarten this year and another next year. We have found a community we really like with good schools, trails, parks, etc. We are weighing our options for a primary residence and have narrowed it down to a large condo (4/2.5 , 1640sq.ft) or a single family home (4/2.5, 2000sq.ft). The catch is the single family residence is on the corner of a through street. Obviously price is very influential but assuming all things equal and both prices are fair which is the safer risk for a long-term investment standpoint. The Condo would be very close to cash flowing if rented but the house would also. as far as resell value what are thoughts on corner lots?

Thank you for your help!

Submitted by bearishgurl on August 13, 2015 - 12:44pm.

Between the two choices you listed:

If the "through street" is only two lanes with a yellow line(s) down the middle, then I would take the house and put up a short picket fence around the front yard to prevent your kids/dog from straying. If it is wider than that, I would not buy it for a residence, especially since you have small children. This house is bigger and will resell much better than a condo. You don't have any control over a condo assn's ability to raise HOA dues and demand special assessments over the years. You also don't have any control over how many units are tenant-occupied, causing the complex's units to be only cash purchases in the future.

However, I feel you could hang in there for a third choice .... that is, a SFR that DOES NOT suffer from "economic obsolescence" in the form of abutting a busy street. If you could find a 1650 to 2000 sf SFR listing nearby whose seller would accept a similarly-priced offer from you, then that would be the preferable choice, IMO. Don't sweat the small stuff (needs new DW or HW heater, etc). Focus yourselves only on structural defects you will not accept, NOT BS small stuff you can fix for a a few hundred dollars.

You cannot fix a busy-street location or the fact that you will be only own a fractional interest of a condo complex in which you will have zero control over its mgmt decisions.

Another consideration is that a corner lot also takes 2-4x month mowing and more water than a lot in the middle of the block.

Edit: if the house you're considering making an offer on is across the street (busy st side) from a school or strip mall, I would not consider it for a young family as there will be too much traffic and too many people on the side of your house at various hours of the day and night.

If it is situated across from a community rec center I would consider if the setback of the rec center and grounds was ample and it had ample parking.

Submitted by livinincali on August 13, 2015 - 12:44pm.

bearishgurl wrote:

Another consideration is that a corner lot also takes 2-4x month mowing and more water than a lot in the middle of the block.

You don't have to mow illegal real grass in a couple of years, right? ;)

Submitted by evolusd on August 13, 2015 - 1:02pm.

I'm an SEH resident and can give you some local flavor. What street is the house on?

Submitted by VistaGuy on August 13, 2015 - 1:15pm.


Submitted by outtamojo on August 13, 2015 - 2:04pm.

Shoulda made this into a poll : )

Me I'd rather hear the cars outside than neighbors through a common wall. Only way a condo could make me think twice was if it was detached and had amenities (nice pool etc.).

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on August 13, 2015 - 3:48pm.

I am also a resident of SEH and can give advice. Questhaven is busy so consider the noise in your decision to live there. For rental purposes, it wont matter. The stop sign/ four way intersection is dangerous as many people blow right through it but you would be in proximity to the park. I assume you are off questhaven and not off wild cat canyon right?

I cant speak to the condos but with a family of 5, that may be tight.

Edit - I assume its the house on old glen. Also, consider your proximity to schools. San Elijo elementary is overcrowded but you can walk to the school assuming you are in SEH boundaries. Try to walk to SEH because pickup and dropoff blows. The new school double peak is in demand but is delayed until August 2016 (which works for your kid going into K). The school will be K-8 which is nice if you want to keep all of your kids in the same school together and its supposed to be rock solid from a technology perspective. Getting the kids there will stink but hopefully a solution comes to light for that (like buses for the district).

Submitted by evolusd on August 14, 2015 - 8:22am.

Totally agree with LAFFTERHOURS. This section of SEH is zoned for SEES and SEMS, not the new K-8. If you wanted to go there, you'd need to apply for a transfer. Either way the kiddos are going to great schools.

If it is the house on Old Glen, that's not too bad as the only people zooming by would be those going to the last community on Questhaven, Venzano. And you could easily walk to Questhaven Park, which was just renovated and is pretty awesome.

If the prices are close, I'd go SFR, but that's just me.

Edit - the Old Glen home is close to the big power line, though. For some people that's a real turn off. Something to consider for resale.

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on August 14, 2015 - 10:09am.

A lot of people may opt out of the new school because of the delay but the lower grades are rather full. I think there were supposed to be (3) third grade classes for the coming school year.

With regards to the old glen neighborhood, I know some families in there and they love the subdivision but to evolusd's point on the power lines, all of the subdivisions on that side are very close and that could impact your resale, your view and hopefully not your health.

The park mentioned is way better than it used to be so that is a nice feature to have in close proximity. You could walk your kids over to brightwood and walk them down the path to school if you go to SEES and SEMS.

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