Home Buying in New Orleans>Question Details

Joseph, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

Thinking about a move to New Orleans! My income 65K from pension, annuity, willing to put up to 185K down.

Asked by Joseph, San Francisco, CA Thu Jan 29, 2009

Don't want a large mortgage ,so up to 300-325K. Is it possible to find condo/house in Quarter/Marigny, Lower Garden/Coloseum Sq., Warehouse Dist., Garden, Uptown below St. Charles to River areas? I would prefer 2BD but would consider large 1BD (800 sf). Is this possible in NOLA given my income and downpayment?

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Oh, Dana. O my god. We just haven't been out of the city. Vera's was our favorite place for a weekend sunset. We used to love Lacombe. It's all so depressing because you can smell the ocean from the twinspans. I had to drive to New York and I saw all the development around Hattiesburg. People think the hurricane issue doesn't concern the Northshore, but it does--tremendously. It's a beautiful, ecosensitive environment and it is under threat just as NO is. The ocean is advancing from the south and the east and we need to get homeowners motivated all over Southeast La. That's why I tell people who love this place to take a stand and stay. If not for my health, I would never leave. I'd rather just tough it out with a generator until kingdom come. We are still stalling...should we wait a year or two or sell now...It is killing me. I am going around my house boxing things and painting the trim and doing some faux work and oiling the honey oak floors, and I have things that belong in New Orleans, that fit my little house so completely. I have plaster and concrete friezes that won't belong in the desert. I have an Orpheus sign that fell off a flambeaux and still smells of kerosene. I have an iron horse head that I rescued from a heap of construction trash when they were digging up Dauphine St (for the 100 time!). I have an S&W sewer cover--with the stars and crescent on it. I have brick dust from Louis I which I keep with some debris from 9/11 [my brother in-law is FDNY and lost all his best friends on 9/11 and is now very ill himself from working the Pile]. I keep wondering, is this my last Mardis Gras? My husband and I married on 10/31 because All Saint's Day is a city holiday and we love to do the cemeteries. It's like dying, I swear. I want my home to go to someone who really loves New Orleans, not just some investor or contractor. I have a sweet olive beside the front porch and confederate jasmine entwined all up and over the rails and I've let it grow on the open side of the porch, down and down, almost to the ground. In summer the scent fills all of Chestnut St. Each year, people stroll by the house just for the jasmine. Will the new owner cut it all down? I have a plum tree in the back that Katrina bent to the ground and I've allowed the tree to keep that curve, just high enough to walk under, so the plums hang close and loose and are so sweet and juicy and full. My back courtyard is free and wild--will the new owner tame it? I obsess about it. They say move or I'll cripple up. But moving will cripple my soul. I am a New Orleanian. The end.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009

Have given you a thumbs up,wish I could give you 10! Your message brought tears to my eyes and Istill have goosebumps! How can you not love the Big Easy! We live on the Northshore,felt it was best for children,but my dream is still to someday(when family constraints are not an issue) have a really cool condo in a fun,funky area of NO. And 10 thumbs down to Daniel who just doesn't get it!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 2, 2009
Hey Joe!

My husband also retires in April at age 50, and we are heading out West that week.

We were born in NYC, lived in Florida--hell, had a house on the water in Florida which we left for New Orleans. There is no city like New Orleans. It's...there's...wow, how to explain it. We've always been attracted funky, artsy environs like P-Town and Key West and The Village, but NOLA is so far beyond that. There is an intense spirit life here that's deeper than just the romance of the place or its 300 year old balancing act of good humor in the face of fate and the ever constant tragic. There are the oddest occurrences--like our first apt. on Esplanade which turned out to be our friend's girlfriend's ancestral home--uh, the girlfriend was from Buffalo, NY. Always knew her people were Louisiana French, but never explored it. One day, I came home and she was all excited that she had the address of her ancestral home. Where is that, she asked, is it close? I told her, "You are standing in it." Unbelievable. After Katrina, we went to Lakeview and it was all brown and dead, except for the memorial to the Irish immigrants who had died digging the canal. You could see that the flood covered everything, even the stone marker, but the ground just there was as green as summer. That's consecrated ground, you see, The immigrants' bones are all under there, as many as 30,000 souls. They used to just roll them into the very ground they died digging up. And then America says God punished us? The tolerance of this place, even in the slave days, is unheard of anywhere else--we accept everyone down here. We live together. We love one another. Race, orientation, body type--it's nothing. And I've taken my cat out on a leash (long story) and walked his insane little ass all over the GD at 2am. Last night I fell asleep to the scent of my sweet olive and the sound of the boats moaning on the river and the lonely clatter of the trolley 4 blocks away on St. Charles', all hovering in the dark outside my open window. Ever smell sweet olive on a cool, damp night? You could weep over it. That, and night blooming jasmine and then the violet night itself. Oh well. This is a hard place to leave. Be forewarned. [Oh--as for flood insurance, yes you MUST! Even we have it, and this house beat Katrina and beat that '100 year flood', where there was 4 ft. of water on my street! It didn't even make it into the basement! But we've looked at the map, and NOLA is a water-city. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Email me, Joe! angerdux@bellsouth.net or phone 504 891-7674, just leave a voice mail. I'm not a realtor, so all y'all realtors relax! LOL! Oh, as to neighborhood--if I were alone, I'd get a Quarter condo. Parking is tough, but these houses are hell to maintain and neighbors are tight downtown. Marigny has some crime issues. Personally, I couldn't stomach life upriver of Louisiana Ave. It becomes a bit prim--For me, anyway. And I love the antiquity of the GD, Lower, Proper, and Upper Garden District. From La. Ave., it's a 40 minute walk to the Quarter. Just enough to work off an oyster plate. My neighborhood eats at Joey K on Mag. or Trolley Stop on St. Charle's. Casual home cooking. During Hurricane Gustave, we had a block Bar B Q. Everyone was great. But I live on a very funky GD block, so...I can't do prim. Joe---you will love living here. I am SO happy for you! Each day I spent in New Orleans, even in the worst of times, has been a blessing.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 2, 2009

Vera's was totally destroyed during Katrina. It is still going,but in a SHOPPING CENTER(!) near the Northshore Mall. It's just not the same.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 7, 2009

If we had had children, we would have gone across lake for the same reason you did. I love it there too! I remember when it was real wilderness across lake. It was stunningly beautiful. I haven't been for awhile. Is Vera's still going? God, I remember when there were pelicans!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 6, 2009
Take a look at this article for info on taxes,

Condo fees will vary from 150-400. If you are looking at a condo in this area, most liekly you will pay about 300 per month, which typically includes water, exterior maintenance, and exterior insurance.

Again, feel free to email me if you would like to see some condos and their prices , and fees.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Hi again. Wanted to ask about property taxes? In CA it's about 1.1% per 100,000 valuation. Do you have a fairly uniform rate or is it all over the place? Oh and if I decide to do this, I'm thinking a condo would be best for me because of maintenance and insurance reasons-does that make sense? I know there may be issues I don't face here with a house, like pests, climate, etc. Are HOA dues really high or do they vary greatly like here depending on amenities offered? It can be anywhere from 150 to 450 and up, usually around 200-300. Is it similar in NOLA?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Hi Joe
I loved NOLA too
We just bought a house in Algiers Point
No damage during Katrina
Great prices, friendly and walk to the Ferry
Think about it
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
Hey Joseph, glad to hear from you. There are plenty of local banks that would appreciate your business and offer the same if not better rates. I have plenty I can refer you to. Again, don't hesitate to email me if you would like for me to send you some listings, just so you can get a feel for areas and price ranges. Even if you are a few months out from your move.

I look forward to helping you.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 1, 2009
Thanks so much for your answers! I have thought about moving there for a very long time. I recently retired (before 60, A goal of mine!) and thought of NOLA again. Many have tried to discourage me, although others think it's great! The usual NOLA debate, LOL! I fell in love with it the first tme, many years ago, and every tme I have returned. I know it has many problems, but also it is magic to my mind! The pull is kind of like SF was, only stronger! I didn't hesitate, and have no regrets, it is a great city too! (but very expensive housing especially!) Ange, I may take you up on questions, thanks for offering. I'm surprised you say living expenses are high, I do understand about insurance, though I was hoping it would not be too bad as long as I was in an area that did not flood during Katrina. Hope I'm not being too naive! I have wandered around the areas I listed along St. Charles, Magazine and between up to Audobon , and of course the Quarter/Marigny and lovely (to my eyes) Esplanade. I love querky, urban, places with character and dislike the 'burbs! Won't be wrapping up my end in SF until April or May then I will be back looking, getting pre approval ,etc. Speaking of Banks, isn't it better to get preapproved locally rather than a National lender, or does it matter? I don't anticipate problems as I have excellent credit and a good downpayment I'm willing to use,with a good amount in cash as a reserve, although I know in these times it's harder to get loans.. Sorry for the long post, I think I'm rambling here!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 1, 2009
The cost of living is high down here. We are selling our Garden District home and moving to Arizona because our pension is also 65K and it is a stretch, meeting the bills. I don't want to discourage you and I have such a great love for New Orleans and my neighborhood that moving will feel like a death--I will mourn, am already mourning. If you want to know everything about living here, from insurance costs to utilities, to food costs [it's cheaper to eat out!], to neighborhood info, to local secrets, I will answer any question truthfully. I'd offer you my house, but it requires some new renovations, such as a new kitchen. But it does have a critical and rare aspect--it is raised 8 feet, with an enclosed basement. This house will never flood. In May 1995, we had heavy rains that resulted in a '100 year flood'. There was 4 ft. of water in the street. But because our house was built back from the street on a high ridge, no water reached us. We put the car in the basement garage and we were the only one's on the block whose car was not flooded and ruined. Email me at angerdux@bellsouth.net. I'm Ange. I'd love to write you rhapsodies about my beloved city.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 30, 2009
How about a large 2 bedroom in the Garden District, fully furnished, completely remodeled, many architectural details, large balcony ...for $185,000.00

Call, (504)615-2333 or email me and I can give you more info on this and several other really good values.
Web Reference: http://iansellsnola.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 29, 2009
You have an outstanding chance. I would get pre approved ASAP.

I am a mortgage broker. If I can be of service, please let me know!

Martin Smith

Precision Funding
877-238-6324 Ext 704
877-238-6324 FAX
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 29, 2009
Absolutely. The greater New Orleans area offers a wide variety of homes in all price points. There are great deals to be found across the region. I specialize in the St Tammany residential market just north of Lake Ponchartrain. If you have any interest in this growing area, please visit my website. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what you can get for $300,000 (or even $185,000).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 29, 2009
Yes Easily, .
I can surely put you in touch with mortgage people who will be able to supply a loan for this purchase, and i can begin sending you listings in those areas.
Shoot me an email,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 29, 2009
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