Both Buyer and Seller, Buffalo, NY
I own several higher-quality rental properties on the West Side. That area is "so so". Anything from CT south is quite nice, especially near D'Youville and the whole area south of the college and along Porter as it turns into the downtown. If looking to purchase for price range of Vermont/Normal, I'd suggest trying further north and east - try Grant/Lafayette area - esp streets like Greenwood, Herkimer and Hoyt within one block north of Lafayette. The whole area is improving quickly, so like Rob says - best to drive the area at different times. Also, stop into the stores on Grant to chat. Many owners live in the area.