I've represented both buyers and sellers in the Brickyard complex. While it is located south of 280 in a transitional neighborhood, the complex itself is quiet and clean, particularly those that don't face 3rd street. Most of the units are in great condition with lots of young families and professionals who like the proximity to downtown San Jose without the high prices. The commute is decent, since you're close enough to the major tech firms without being so far south as to be slammed in rush hour traffic on the 101 with the rest of the Evergreen residents.
Pricing is definitely very attractive. Move-in ready 1-bedroom units can be picked up for about $160K-$170K. A bit more distressed units that needs some work can be had for about $140K-150K. I help my buyers arrange for minor renovations so that price discount is worth the effort. Including the HOA, the monthly payment is about $1100 with a 20% downpayment, much less than rent. Many of the units offer very a generous storage unit (10' x 3') right at the front of the living space. Two bedroom units are ideal for young families and run in the low $200K's, down from nearly $500K at the peak.
Right now, there is a pending HOA litigation case going on. The HOA has budgeted for it and already adjusted the monthly dues accordingly. Conventional financing is available on certain units and alternative financing can be arranged for others. For those looking to stay for 3-5 years, the litigation issues and overhang of distressed properties should be cleared and prices should appreciate significantly from there.
1) Our condo windows face out towards 3rd St. (west facing) which means that it retains any and all heat. I'm also pretty convinced that hot water pipes run under the floors of many of the condos. Even on a freezing cold day, our condo is typically a good 15+ degrees hotter than the temperature outside. Thus, it's a necessity to keep our windows open and prop open our front door regularly (especially since we usually try to conserve energy by not running the AC). On a daily basis, the smell of cigarette smoke and/or marijuana will permeate our condo from other condos near ours or anyone on the sidewalk or walkways. It's pretty disgusting.
2) We ended up in a horrible situation that caused us to have to call the police a total of 3 times in order to stop what were clearly extremely violent, loud, and frightening domestic disputes occurring in the condo above ours. It was horrific to hear. The police were very responsive and came each time, and they also maintained our anonymity. These tenants no longer live there, but I just wanted potential residents to be aware.
3) Back in December 2011, our storage shed (located directly next to our front door) was broken into on a Saturday morning and our electric drill set and my boyfriends road bike were stolen. The shed had been locked, and the thief had been able to easily jimmy the lock. It turned out that several other residents also were burglarized that day. Luckily we were able to convince our landlord to replace the bogus lock with a deadbolt, but most others were not. In addition, I have heard of people having other items stolen from various areas across the complex, including bikes and even cars stolen from the garage itself. They have since added security, but they seem to almost never be on the property.
4) There are constant water leak problems throughout the complex requiring major, complex-wide, water shutdowns for full days at a time. Unfortunately, we were one of the condos that sprung a leak. Luckily we were home and therefore noticed the water raining down from the ceiling all over our closet. We panicked, and were unable to reach anyone to have them fix it for almost 20 minutes during which time the closet flooded and the leak migrated across our ceiling to right above our bed. Once we finally got the people here to work on it, they were unable to get into the condo above ours where the leak was coming from because the residents weren't home. Once they finally accessed their master key and got to the source of the leak upstairs, we had significant damage to our property and condo. We were unable to live here for almost a total of 3 full weeks while the repairs were made and the water restoration work was completed. It was a complete nightmare.
Needless to say, we will not be renewing our lease this year. I definitely agree with Brickyard Resident, unless you are looking for the loud, partying, college dorm feel, I suggest you stay far far away from Brickyard. There are many better places to live.
About your follow-up question, you don't necessarily need all cash to buy. There are certain units that can be financed with a conventional mortgage through a Fannie Mae backed loan. Otherwise, you can also get alternative financing as well through private lenders, but those would carry higher interest rates of 7-10%.
As for similar condos in this price range, there are several in the North San Jose area that have worked well for my clients. Depending on your preference for location, I can help you find a few that would fit your needs.
Did you find your rental as of yet? Is your job in down town San Jose area? Please call if you need assistance.
Better Homes and Garden
Although there is pending litigation with this condo complex, I work with a few lenders that have been successful in getting financing. It would require anywhere from 20-25% down to qualify, depending on which lender I consider for getting the financing. The rates are competitive to current market rates. I've written a few blogs about financing condos in litigation if you'd like to take a look. If I can be of assistance, please let me know.
First Capital Mortgage
Direct: (310) 434-1718
Cell: (310) 995-0975
If you work in or near downtown San Jose they are great as far as the commute, it is very short, and it is very convenient.
The one big drawback that I see is that if you are commuting some distance away, traffic on major thoroughfares, such as 280 is very heavy during the commute hours in the morning and afternoon, and makes a commute elsewhere a pain in the neck.
I like this complex design a lot. The units have some unique features and different layouts, not so cookie cutter style. I think it is a great space with community rooms available for residents that promote the kind of "live/work" idea. It is a secured, gated garage, and internal entry so that certainly provides a level of security.
The challenge to me is the economic issues have not allowed the neighborhood to change with the Brickyard and unfortunately, many of the units are under water. The last time I checked there were legal action being taken against the HOA and builder. Either one of these issues would prevent a loan being used to purchase unless it was a private lender (hard money lender). The REO lenders may provide financing.
If you want to look at crime in the area and general downtown area - check out http://www.crimereports.com