Home Buying in Buffalo>Question Details

Paul, Home Buyer in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn...

We are considering relocating to Buffalo. We want to live in Elmwood village and/or close to Delaware Park.

Asked by Paul, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, NY Mon Mar 30, 2009

We would like a 3-4 bedroom, 2-3 bathroom house with a good lot included. What are the schools like in our targeted area? Is crime an issue in Buffalo?
Thanks so much.

Paul

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BEST ANSWER
Paul -
As long as you buy right around Elmwood Village and/or Delaware Park you'll find some great houses! Most of the homes around here are old - many with beautiful old woodwork and stained glass windows. The price you'll pay will greatly depend on how much work it will need - we bought a 140 yr old house really cheap and renovated the whole thing, but you can find many that are already renovated and gorgeous for more $$. Depends on what you're looking to do. The schools are Buffalo public schools (not great!) but there are a few good Charter schools and some very good private (and Catholic) schools. We've been here now for 12 years and we love it! If you need any reccommendations about any streets/neighborhoods in particular I'd be glad to give you my thoughts!
Julia
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 18, 2009
Hey There,

We just bought a house in the Elmwood Village area. We are relocating from the West Coast. There were great houses on the market, very reasonably, with lots of renovations.

As far as crime, I looked into crime reports in the area with the police department and it was extremely safe. The street which we bought is tons of young professional families who told us about some good options for schools in that area. They all spoke very highly of the neighborhood and schools.

Good Luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 3, 2009
Hi Paul - The biggest thing to think about when looking in the Elmwood Village or near Delaware park is how much work you are willing to do on the house. As I mentioned before, ALL the houses in the area are OLD (1880's-1950's), so you'll have to decide whether you want to spend more for one that has already been updated/renovated or spend less for one and do the renovations yourself. The ones that have beautiful new kitchens and baths are definitely getting top dollar in these areas and they get snatched up quickly! The other BIG thing that you have to think about is do you HAVE to have a garage/driveway/off-street parking.....there are lots of beautiful homes on great streets that are very close together and don't have garages or driveways. But it IS city living, after all, so you have to decide what you can live with! For us, we were lucky enough to find a house with a driveway and a big yard, so we built a new garage a few years ago and I now couldn't be without it!!!
As for the schools - there are a bunch of choices - public neighborhood schools, public charter schools, parochial schools and private schools - there are also some great pre-schools and 2 montessori schools around here if you have little ones. It is the city, though, so some of the public schools are not great, and the better ones have lottery systems to get in, so you have to really ask around and get all the school application info so you don't miss any of the lottery deadlines!
As for crime - In these areas you're generally safe - the occasional car break-in or someone stealing something you left out in the front yard, but it IS the city, so we keep everything locked up.
So, with that in mind, when looking at a map of the area, you'll probably want to look in these areas -
To be within walking distance to Elwood Village, look: Between North Ave (South End) and Forest Ave (North End) and between Linwood Ave (East side) and Richmond Ave (west side). All the "cross streets" like Cleveland, Lafayette, Highland, Auburn, Lexington, etc are beautiful streets! Anything on Lincoln Parkway, Chapin Parkway or Bidwell Parkway is GORGEOUS - all huge mansions (way out of most people's price range!!), but definitely the most desirable streets!
To be in the great neighborhood around Delaware park you'll want to look: from Delware park (south end) to Hertel Ave (North End - and there are some nice streets north of Hertel, also) and from Main Street (east side ) to Elmwood ave (west Side). The prime streets around here are Nottingham, Middlesex, and Depew but most of the streets around here are really nice!
You had said that you'd be visiting the area in mid May, so you should line up as many houses to see as possible! But be sure to WALK around these areas, too to get a real feel for the neighborhoods. SPOT coffee is the best Elmwood Ave coffee shop. The Globe Market or Brodo are great places for lunch and I have a ton of great restaurant recomendations if you want any! Hertel Ave has some great restaurants, too. If you have time, you can walk around the loop at Delaware Park (@1.5miles around and you'll probably see all the soccer/baseball/softball leagues going on. If you have little kids and are bring them with you, there's a great playground near the Rose Garden by the lake at the end of Lincoln Parkway, and of course there are several playgrounds at Delaware park...
Sorry to ramble!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 8, 2009
Paul,

You will find the tools to answer your questions at my brokerage's website: http://realtyusa.com/community_tools.

Additionally, New York State provides school reports on this website: https://www.nystart.gov/publicweb/District.do?year=2008&…

The zip code for Elmwood Village is 14222.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 31, 2009
Why not spend some time time there and see for yourself, check out shops, dine at local restaurants, drive around areas of interest, etc. then make your decision based on what area suits your lifestyle best. You'll thank yourself for it later.

Anna
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
Paul - Have you looked into other areas outside of the city of Buffalo? The suburban sprawl is quite large on the outskirts of the city, with an easy communte from most locations to Thruways and expressways to expediate your commute to work. Plus, the availibity of homes with large lots, tree-lined streets and parks are great. Amherst, Clarence, Williamsville and Lancaster are just a few of the great suburbs in Western New York with plenty of young professional families. Great Schools, shopping and dining destinations mixed in with community resources as well. Enjoy your relocation, as it is an exciting adventure to find a new place to call home, yet stressful as well. Good Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
Hi There: Well, we do have family there, and are both originally from Buffalo. But the real reason that we choose to buy in Buffalo is the lifestyle. We are expecting in the fall and living where we are would guarantee that we buy a house about 3xs as expensive the one we bought in Buffalo and I be strapped to my job, leaving baby in daycare or doing the nanny scene. Buffalo is such a nice, easy, friendly place to raise a family and still have money left to travel, drink good wine and all the other things we like to do :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 5, 2009
Jane: Thanks for writing. Appreciate the input. Do you mind telling me how you ended up choosing Buffalo? Job? Family?

Paul
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 4, 2009
Hi Julia - I called the broker you recommended and she has not returned my call. I'll try her again once we get in to Buffalo tomorrow. Please let me know if there is some other way to contact her. Good luck on the 1/2 marathon. If you have the energy and time to meet up for a few minutes, we would much appreciate it. My e-mail address shows up if you click on my profile.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 21, 2009
HI Paul - That would be fine - we will be here that weekend. Just an FYI, though, that Sunday morning is the Buffalo marathon, so many of the streets downtown and around the park will be closed until @ noon. (I'm running the 1/2 marathon, so I'm sure I'll be running right by you at the Hampton Inn!) I'll see if I can figure out what streets will be open so that you can actually get your car out and around it all!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 11, 2009
Julia: When I was planning our trip Hampton Inn was not taking reservations but they are now. Thank you for the recommendation. I'll give Stephanie a call a few days before our trip. Our trip is still some days away but If you have a few minutes during the weekend of May 22 - 24, I think my wife and I would love to get some additional perspective on Buffalo from you. If you think that's possible let me know. Thanks for all your help.

Paul
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 10, 2009
Hi Paul - I guess I'd recommend the Hampton Inn on Delaware Ave at Chippewa St Downtown. It's the closest, newest hotel to Elmwood area. Still at least a mile or so from where you'd get out and walk around Elmwood village, so you can't walk from your hotel. But it's a nice central spot to start from. There's a really nice B&B just down the street from us on Linwood Ave called the Beau Fleauve, but not sure how toddler friendly...It's an absolutely gorgeous old victorian and beautiful inside but with lots of breakable stuff! Ramona Whitaker, the owner is really nice but she'll talk your ear off, so you probably would be more comfortable at the hotel-?
As far as a Real estate agent, I just spoke with Stephanie Pfaltzgraf at Hunt Real Estate - she's a friend of mine and she'd be glad to show you around if you'd like. Her # is 716-868-4125. She knows the area very well!
Also FYI - in the Hampton Inn building on the Chippewa St side is a great restaurant called Papaya - there's also a tex-mex place called Salsarita's and a desert and cocktail place called the Chocolate Bar that will probably be packed on Friday and Sat nights!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 8, 2009
Julia: Thanks so much for your reply. I'll make sure to print it out your answer and take it with me when it's time to go. If you have any other details or information you'd care to share with us, we'll be very grateful, as your answers have been very very helpful. Do you know if there is a good hotel in the Elmwood village area that would be appropriate for someone with a 1 and half year old toddler? Hotels in the downtown area are poorly reviewed on TripAdvisor and the B&Bs look very nice, but I wonder about taking a baby to a place that caters to folks looking for peace and quiet. Do you know of a real estate agent that we could contact? I know there are many but it's hard to select one just at random. If you know someone let us know. Thank again.

Paul
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 8, 2009
Paul,

There are a variety of websites out there that can assist you in your home search. I write about the Buffalo area and you will find some helpful information. Fair housing rules stop us from answering some of your questions....

What a New York Realtor® cannot tell you about a neighborhood might surprise you. We recognize that the purchase of your Western New York home is a huge life altering decision and you want to make sure that you have not only the perfect home, but also that have all the facts you need to make that decision.

Attached is a document that may assist you, and definately check out the links that Michael gave you in his answer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 1, 2009
Julia: Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. My wife and I are coming to visit Buffalo the third week of May. We would love any suggestions you might have for us on streets, neighborhoods, what to consider (from the point of view of a resident), what to avoid or generally anything that you think might be useful. We're not quite sure how to go about looking at Buffalo from the perspective of someone who lives there so anything you can tell us will be much appreciated.
Paul
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 18, 2009
I would love to provide some answers about Prequalification for you.
You will also need a good local attorney and Pand C agent which I can
help with as well. Please visit these pages to find
out more about the Pre-qualification Process!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 15, 2009
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