Social Question

tedd's avatar

Which home would you take?

Asked by tedd (14073points) May 8th, 2012

Ok so my g/f and I are moving in together this month. We’ve been set for a couple months to move into a townhouse. The townhouse is part of a larger rental property which I’ve lived at before, and is not far from where she lives now. It’s almost entirely populated with college students from nearby Ohio State (for reference we are both 26, so not far removed). When I lived there before (2007/8) I had no issues with the management or the environment/neighbors. The property is under new management now, a national company which I actually live under now, but I still haven’t had any major problems. The rent is going to be almost $900/month, not counting utilities. And that’s on a 1 year lease.

Well last Friday my older brother, who also lives in town, threw us a curve-ball. He’s an engineer for Honda, and he just received an offer to work at GM, up in M*chigan. If he accepts the offer, which would nearly double his pay and have him working in supposedly one of the best facilities in the car industry (fun and tech), he has to move out of his house by the end of this month. He just bought his house barely 6 months ago, and lives there currently with his long time g/f. He was interested in seeing if my g/f and I would want to rent his house. It’s a Cape-Cod style house, probably about twice the overall size of the townhouse we were looking at. Full yard and an un-attached 2-car garage. It’s a residential neighborhood as opposed to mostly college kids. The area is very near (3–5 blocks away from) a shaky part of Columbus. This is honestly our biggest hold up. It’s also within a mile of 3 churches (one is across the street), and adjacent to the back yard is a school. We would be taking over his mortgage payment (still in his name, our rent would just be the payment), $650/month plus utilities. Also we wouldn’t have to sign a long term lease, so long as we let him know our plans as far ahead of time as possible.

The crime potential being our biggest concern, I pulled up the Columbus PD’s crime map and zoomed in on both locations (and our current apartments for comparison). I put the locations in the middle of the map, so it’s about ½ a mile in every direction on the map, and set it back as far as it would go… 6-months. Here’s what I found:
The Townhouse- 10 acts of vandalism, 10 breaking and entering acts, 4 acts of theft, 2 assaults, and 2 sex offenders (28 total). It’s worth mentioning here that around 10 of all of these events were located on the other side of a major freeway which bisected the immediate east of the townhouse. A majority of the incidents on the Townhouses side of the freeway took place in the rental complex. 5–7 were within a few blocks of the Townhouse.

My Brothers House- 15 acts of breaking and entering, 9 acts of theft, and 1 act of vandalism (25 total). Only ~6 of the acts were within a couple blocks of the house itself. Almost none of the acts were to the south of the house, a much nicer residential area. To the north, where most of the acts occurred, you eventually come to the crappy part of town. With a school in the back yard there are no sex offenders anywhere in site, and on the plus the incidence of violent crime is very low.

My g/f’s apt now- 3 acts of vandalism, 2 acts of breaking and entering, 4 thefts, and 4 assaults (13 total). Most of these events were on the perimeter of the mile range around her apartment. Worth noting that directly north of her apartment is a business area and a road, so there isn’t really anything to burgle.

My current apartment- 5 acts of breaking and entering, 5 thefts, and 2 acts of vandalism (12 total). Only 2 crimes occurred within a few blocks of my apartment. But again, worth mentioning that a major freeway is directly south of my apartment, and it chewed up a pretty good chunk of the map. Also to the west of my apartment is a largely wooded area.

What would your advice/opinion be? We’re going tonight to check out the area of the house at night, and talk to my brother… so we can make our final decision.. pending his final decision.

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19 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Do your brother a favor and turn him down. Let him rent the place for $900 a month to someone who isn’t family so he can both make money on rent and on equity.

Come on, @tedd. This is a no-brainer. If you are seriously worried about crime, then just be more vigilant. Don’t leave stuff in the car. Lock your doors. Install an alarm system in the house, if you must. Just be careful.

Seems to me you are looking a gifthorse in the mouth. Didn’t your Momma ever tell you not to do that?

tedd's avatar

@wundayatta My mother never spoke with ridiculous tones :)... lol.

I see your point, we’re just trying to look at this from all angles and temper our initial excitement.

janbb's avatar

It sounds like a no-brainer to me too. I would go for the house; the crime rate differences don’t seem that significant.

chyna's avatar

No brainer to me too. Take your brother’s house and save the money for a down payment for your own house. It will help if you are handy to fix things as they break etc. around the house.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What are the expectations for home maintenance, including lawncare? The discount in rent sounds great on the surface…what about costs for getting to work? Is it a longer drive for either of you? Will renting from the brother have an impact on your credit rating? Will your brother have to pay taxes on the rental income? Just some other factors to consider.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’d move to Michigan.

Cruiser's avatar

I would take up your brothers offer if only for the freedom of no lease.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’d go for the house. You’d be helping your brother and saving money. Knowing you are in his place will make his new assignment that much easier. The crime difference is insignificant.

I know from experience what a hassle and worry it is when i had to rent my own house. I took an assignment (and promotion) in a different city. I rented it at a reduced rate to my neighbor’s daughter and new husband. It worked out great for both of us.

Work with him. You both will be better for it.

(Unless you are destructive slob. I don’t think you are.)

wilma's avatar

The house sounds like the best deal to me.
What I am concerned about is your relationship with your brother. What if something goes wrong? What if he thinks you aren’t keeping the house in good repair or clean enough? Who pays what, that would all have to be understood and put in writing.

john65pennington's avatar

A long question, but I understand why.

First, i would reject your brother’s offer. What if he lost his job and had to come back to his townhouse? Where would that leave you and your gf? That’s right, out in the cold.

The crimes stats are pretty much the same in either location.

$650 a month plus utilities of around $170 equals $820 a month at your brother house. Are utilities included in the $900 a month? As you can see, the difference is approx. $80.00 a month.

That $80.00 difference is your assurance that you and your gf will have a place to live, where as your brothers townhouse may have to be vacated, by you two, if your brother’s job falls through.

I would rent my own townhouse, strictly for the security of not having to ever move.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Don’t rent from friends or family if you still want to be on good terms with them 5 years from now. I see a lot of people that rent from family with no lease on the court shows on TV.

If I were you, I would thank your brother for the offer, but take the townhouse.

If you do decide to rent from your brother, insist on a formal lease so you both know what is expected. Example, will you have to pay to replace the broken water line or will he.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, violent crime would be my biggest concern, and that seems to be not a problem at your brothers house. @john65pennington brought up a good point about utilities, they will likely be higher in the house. I would not worry at all about him possibly moving back, if he does you’ll move. Also, you will have the freedom of being able to move whenever you want. So, you can try it, and if you don’t love it you can move, just give him plenty of notice to find another tenant.

I also think @Pied_Pfeffer brought up good things to consider like lawncare, commute and also you will have a bigger place to have to clean and maybe more hassle clearing snow in the winter. Although, as far as taxes, if you are just covering the mortgage your brother does not have a problem with taxes, in fact he will get a write off, if that is all you cover. He should know though that if he rents it more than two years out of five he will have to pay taxes on any profit he makes when he sells, but nothing is selling for much profit right now, so that isn’t a big concern for most people. GM didn’t offer hm a relocation package that included selling his house?

I do lean towards the house. Sounds like a win win for you and your brother.

tedd's avatar

@JLeslie Dunno if GM offered selling house help, I assume they offered relocation assistance (but again I don’t know). We would be paying him rent under the table. Per the terms of his mortgage he’s not allowed to rent them home for one year upon purchase, and he’s only had it for about 6 months now. He couldn’t directly rent it to me for another 6 months. As far as more than 2 years out of 5, at least speaking with regards to myself, I have no interest in living there more than a year or so. It’s entirely likely I will land a job out of town before then too.

JLeslie's avatar

@tedd The 2 years out of 5 was purely for your brothers info. You mention rules of his mortgage, but I think more important is there rules for his homeowners association? The mortgage people will never know most likely, but neighbors, especially board members, of the home owners association, if there is one, might question you living there so soon. Some communities have rules an owner must own for a year before being able to rent, but probably that is less likely in Ohio. But, you never know. Since it is fairly close to a not so great part of town, they might have put that provision in so it does not turn into a rental community.

If GM offered to buy or help sell his house, those offers usually last for one year, and then it expires FYI.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If your brother is willing to pay for or at least split the cost of yard maintenance then I’d choose the house. If he’s not up for that then be prepared to add time and money to the yard. Utilities will average an easy $100.00 difference for a house over a condo and the house will be quieter.

marinelife's avatar

I would go for the house. It’s a lot more living quarters for the money,

tedd's avatar

@JLeslie Definitely no home owners association. I would never live under one even if I was just renting. He didn’t say anything about GM offering to help sell or outright buy his house… but he was shocked even with just how much they offered him in pay, so who knows?

JLeslie's avatar

@tedd That’s great! The salary I mean. HOA’s are not all bad. They help protect the value of the house.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would choose the house. The crime issue is really a non-issue, since crime is everywhere. The difference you find in a crime report can be as simple as non-reporting vs over reporting. Don’t let that be your guide.

I would suggest a dog might be a good investment, along with all of the crime deterrent suggestions above.

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