Rehab house in crummy neighborhood

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A few years ago out of either hope or stupidity, I bought a rundown house in a fairly crummy neighborhood. House needs all kinds of stuff done to it and sits between 2 vacant houses now, they just became vacant in '05. The area has gone downhill so much in the last couple years that by selling I'd lose several thousand, which would be half what I paid.
It's not the worst area in town but I would not walk through there at night for sure. Several vacancies in the area, lots of breakins, some muggings, etc. But interspersed there's just normal people making it through OK.
My house got broke into last week and they stole a few tools, no biggie, but now I'm trying to figure out what to do when I do start rehabbing in earnest. Obviously there's a security issue and it's exacerbated cause the house on either side is vacant.
I've thought about bars on the windows (expensive). I've thought about moving in but would not exactly enjoy living there, could do it though. Thought about an alarm system.
Does anyone have experience or wisdom they could share on this topic ?
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Some motion activated lights, alarm system with lots of warning signs, lock all tools in heavy steel boxes bolted to floor, and a guard dog if needed, noisey barker. not necessarily visicious
If you can keep the place habitable you might let someone you know stay really cheap, more for security than rent money.
Vacant houses are prime candidates for break ins and arson:( probably cant insure, can you afford the complete loss if a fire burns it down?
you might check with the town they may offer some nice perks for helping bring back the community
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Is the house habitable? Are there any trustworthy locals that can move in to serve as watchmen during this time?
Any possibility that a future tenant would move in now and put in some sweat equity in lieu of rent?
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Oh yeah trim remove trees etc so the home is in clear view this minimizes people messing about.
even DUMMY security cameras can help, they will pick a easier target:)
Yeah I helped rehab a home in a bad neighborhood:)
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Home is not habitable, so can't even have a renter temporarily, and of course can't insure it. Quite the catch-22.
I am inclined either to unload it and take the financial smackdown, or go all out with an alarm system, etc.
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I would think going all out would just be throwing more money down a hole.
Do the work you need to do to the place to rent it out or sell it. Take materials there as you need them, don't leave any tools there over night. Maybe get an enclosed trailer you can work from to make that easier. Personally I would just bring the fewest tools you need and take them with you at the end of the day.
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Any chance of putting a old camper trailer in the yard for a tenant?
This wouldnt cost much but minimize problems!
With the 2 adjacent vacant homes once yours is complete will anyone want to buy or rent it?
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You could buy the houses next door for real cheap and enhabit them. Eventually you might own the whole neighborhood!
A "NRA" sign and a few bumper stickers saying "guns dont kill people, I do" might warn others from playing in your home.
Otherwise live there and work on it. Get it to a point where you can have a nice young couple live there and maintain the house.
I dont like the idea of letting someone stay there so they can fix it up. You never know if things are dont right.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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First, thank you all, this is a weird decision and obvisouly I'm in over my head. It crossed my mind to buy the other 2 houses but (a) I don't have that kind of money sitting around and (b) if the neighborhood gets worse, I'll have a large compound in the middle of a sea of cr@p.
Location location location !
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If you have never fixed up a house before, believe me, it is 10 times more complicated than you can imagine. Every project will be slower and more expensive than expected. If you are not up to it, get out now.

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On 12 Jun 2006 12:00:02 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

You made a poor decision when you bought the property with no concrete plan to do something with it. If the neighborhood is going downhill, will you EVER recover any money you put into it? Will you even be able to sell it at a loss? With no insurance, If you should manage to fix it up, and then a homeless person burns it down, how much more will you lose.Will the city at some point assess you for the cost to tear it down? How will you finance a real plan for rehab/reconstruction? Given that you have owned it for a few years and haven't already fixed it up to the point where it is habitable, I'd recommend you get out as soon as you can and learn the lesson.
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You might consider contacting one of the companies that buy houses and move them. or just move them for no charge. Then you just have a vacant lot to mow which may likely appreciate in value?
lee h
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Check with the local planning commission, they might have redevelopment plans for the future you are not aware of. Check with local polititions to find out if there is any motivation at the govt level to redevelop the area. If it is going downhill, it might not have far to get to the bottom where things might turn around.
If there is no interest in redevelopment in the area, get out now and deduct the loss on your taxes.
If several thousand is 50% of the cost, the property must be very cheap indeed. I can't imagine a house for less than $50K. Sounds like all the value is in the property anyway.

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Thanks again - the redevelopment deal is about a mile or two east, around where the 7 murders in Indianapolis were last month.
Here's something for the people on the coasts - this isn't my house, but it shows what a rehab'd 1100 sq ft house with a basement goes for in zip code 46201:
http://fctucker.katabat.com/content/propertyDetail.asp?listingNumber &00764
$32,900 !
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Uhhhg, the same house in downtown Renton Washington is going for $300,000 thousand.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

use round numbers. If its worth 100K fixed up and you are into it for 50K and it takes you 25K to fix it up then do it quick and sell. If the house is worth 100K fixed up and 99K "as is" then sell and take the loss.
Remember - something is only worth what someone will pay for it. The thing costs you $$ just sitting there empty. The longer you keep it the greater your loss.
Inviato da X-Privat.Org - Registrazione gratuita http://www.x-privat.org/join.php
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Heres a home about a half hour away. Its for sale. Its apopraised by allegheny county for over 50 grand. It appears intact, perhaps its collapsing inside?
Oddly enough the challege appeals to me:( My wife!!!!! OUCH!
http://www.realtor.com/FindHome/HomeListing.asp?snum=5&frm=byzip&mnbed=0&mnbath=0&mnprice=0&mxprice 999999&js=off&pgnum=1&fid=so&mnsqft=&mls=xmls&vtsort=&typ=1&poe=realtor&zp212&all=&zp009&zp209&zp233&zp201&zp214&zp319&zp202&zp222&sidC53ABA7053C&snumxlid53476577&lnksrc001
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It's all location. Here's one on an acre for $15K in Sweeny, TX:
http://search.har.com/engine/indexdetail.cfm?mlnum 70594&class=1&leadid=6&sTYPE=0&backButton=Y
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The owner got it for 2 grand in 2002 and according to the county website, he owns about 30 properties.
If an experienced r.e. investor is giving up on it what does that tell you?
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