Post # 1
This general question has been asked a million times in a million different ways, but I wanted to ask it in my own way.
Would you rather live in a big house in a moderate area, or a modest house in an affluent area? I ask because the housing market near us is extremely divided. There are certain towns that carry a very prestigious reputation, and you (quite strategically I suspect) can’t find a house under 1M, except for a few rather dingy fixer uppers. I’d never want my children to live in the crappiest house of everyone they know…but then I think, there is something to be said for surrounding yourself and your children with a higher class… but *then* I think, it’s not as though affluent kids never get into trouble! Some of the worst drug stories I’ve heard involve super wealthy kids.
It’s not just the prestige or prospect of networking that is the draw to a fancy zip code, but they also do tend to be safer and have better schools.
Even so, I’m leaning towards a nice house in a middle class zip code. Interested in hearing other thoughts.
Post # 2
I voted for cheapest house in the best zip code. You can always remodel / redecorate a house to make it nicer. You can’t change the neighborhood.
Post # 3
It depends what you’re looking for and how long you’re looking to stay in that house. We went for a more modest house in a nice area. If you clean it up a bit, the resale value is better, and the schools etc tend to be better. The nicest house on the block likely will never sell for much more than you paid.
I wouldn’t call our house crappy though. We just needed to do a bit of work on cosmetic things and the back yard. In a few years, we are hoping to be on to the next house with a little profit in our pockets 🙂
Post # 4
I voted for the middle class zip code as I assume the property taxes would be lower. How are the schools in the middle class area?
Post # 5
that’s true, and resale value tends to do better with an affluent area.
Post # 6
Cheapest house in the affluent area. As unfortunte as it is, schools in affluent areas often perform better. You can always change the house, you can’t change your neighborhood. My childhood home was the opposite, one of the nicest in a not so nice area. I didn’t interact with kids in my neighborhood because they got into trouble (with the law at a very young age), and the families in my neighborhood had different family lives. I know that doesn’t mean every neighborhood is like that, etc. but being in a low middle income area had different families than where my husband grew up, in an affluent neighborhood.
Post # 7
Your kids won’t thank you if they are poorer than their peers and you have the worst house in the neighborhood. If you can’t afford all the trappings (clothes, vacations, extra-curricular activities, etc), then you’ll be that “poor” family in that small house at the end of the block. Psychologically, people enjoy being bigger fish than smaller.
Post # 8
big house/modest area.
But…I really mostly care about school district. So if the moderate area had shit schools, then affluent area. If they both had great schools, modest area.
Post # 9
something pulls me in this direction as well…..
Post # 10
If the middle class neighbourhood still has great schools and lowish crime then I would pick that one. I would rather have a great house in a good area than a bad house in an amazing area.
On a personal note, my husband and I had the same family incomes and same size house but in different areas. I grew up in an upper class area and all my friends were ridiculous rich and I felt so left out. I couldnt afford the things they had and rather than feel grateful to be living somewhere nice I just felt poor in comparison. My husband on the other hand grew up in lower-average area and he was better off than all his friends. He grew up very happy and always felt lucky in life. Of course now we are older we feel none of the comparisons matter but it definitely affects the way teenagers and kids view their lives.
Post # 11
I was the poor kid in a nice neighborhood and I’m thankful for it every day of my life. I love where we grew up. My Fiance was the “rich” kid in a crappy area and was ganged up on by the poor kids. While it was hard for me to understand at the time, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not about what the kids like at the time, but about how you teach them about the values of why you got what you got.
Also when I bought my condo I was debating between a house in a cheaper zip code vs. my condo for the same price. I opted for my condo and now the value has almost doubled in 4 years, vs the houses I was looking at in the same city, different zip code, have stayed about the same in value and have only gone up a little bit. I could literally own both now if I wanted to because of what I’ve made on the condo. Investment speaking, the better zip code was the right choice.
Plus the fact that you could always remodel…. It’s a lot harder to pick up and move neighborhoods than it is to focus a few thousand on upgrades here and there.
Moral values, resale value, school districts, etc… I vote for a cheapest house in the nicer neighborhood ANYDAY.
Post # 12
We would like to move to a great school district area, but housing for the family we want is just not in our pay grade. There are many great “middle class” school districts we have to consider. DH and I honestly don’t think we would fit in if we moved to a rich area anyways. lol
Post # 13
I grew up in a nice safe middle class neighborhood and I love that area and still do but my parents didn’t like the schools there. Nothing was wrong with them but they put me in schools in affluent areas and I am honestly better for it. I don’t mean just education but as a person as well because I was exposed to a very different demographic of people versus the neighborhood I lived in.
If your priority is future kids, then I say affluent neighborhood. Although there are very good middle class neighborhood schools…just do some research. Other than that, I choose nicer house in middle class neighborhood.
Post # 14
Full disclosure – I don’t live in the US so maybe my experience isn’t as relevant but I grew up in a poor family in a poor area (everyone was on welfare, my family included), but I was in the catchment area of a school full of extremely wealthy kids. I hated it. At that age it’s super hard to not feel left out/jealous when they all went on holidays and had nice homes when we would regularly receive eviction notices as my mother could afford either rent or bills, but never both, in any given month. When I switched schools to a more low-middle class area, I felt like I fit in much more and had a much happier experience.
Post # 15
I couldn’t care less about the prestige of a neighborhood. However, living in a safe area with a good school district is important. So it would probably come down to how the safety and schools compare. If they are more or less the same (middle-class school isn’t as good as the affluent area one, but still really good) then I’d probably go with the middle-class area. Buying a not so good house carries the risk of surprise expenses that could put a pinch on finances. I’d also worry about my kids growing up in a sort of entitled bubble. It’s better life experience to be around a variety of people which I feel you don’t typically get in affluent areas.
But if the middle-class schools are terrible, then affluent area would end up winning.