Kimmi, Home Buyer in Bristol, VA

is west philly a safe area, I noticed several kind of fixer up ers there, what gives?

Asked by Kimmi, Bristol, VA Thu Sep 6, 2007

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Niles’ answer
I lived in University City (west Phila.) for about 30 years. I moved away about 4 yrs ago. So, I am not extremely current on the crime stats like I used to be. But, to answer your question directly, West Philly is no more unsafe than other areas. There is crime, but there is crime everywhere. When crime happens to a student (and there are a lot of students in UC) it gets front page treatment. So, it might seem to some that there is lots of crime there. But, most crimes throughout the city and suburbs are barely newsworthy -- so, it gives the impression thet the other areas are safer. I would say that the University City area is safer than the farther out areas of West Philadelphia. You did say "West Phila.", not "University City". And, yes, there are lots of "fixer-uppers" available. University City has really progressed over the past 30 yrs., and is expanding its progress outward. That's where you will find more of your "bargains". However, I would think that it is more worthwhile renovating a single family home as a single family home. It is very costly to split homes into good apartments. Best bet: convert the 3rd story of a 3-story home int an apartment, with the bottom 2 floors remaining as the larger "apartment'. The owner can live in a house, but still have income from a tenant on the 3rd floor. (You need a separate entrance, tho, and that's not always easy).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 4, 2008
Kimmi, I am not a Realtor (I am a home inspector) and I have inspected several of the fixer-uppers you mention. I would suspect that 2 things are at work here:
First, yes, there is a pretty high crime rate, especially near the university of Penn. I am not sure if it is a lot of crime by volumne, or simply high profile stories, but serious stories about crime around the Penn campus area are not as rare as one would hope.

Second, there are a huge number of students and young professionals in the area. The large three story homes in this area are perfect for chopping up into several rental units and renting out to local professionals, and university students.

Regentrification is something I have seen, and is present around the area as well, and is giving rise to inflated home prices, so some people may be cashign in by selling their home as a fixer upper to those who wish to follow the trend of regentrification.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 5, 2007
In the past decade, many neighborhoods of Philadelphia have undergone wonderful transformations. Gentrification, community redevelopment corporations, investors... the list goes on. Furthermore, small business owners have committed their resources to serve the residents of these neighborhoods and, for the most part, their investment has been rewarded. The city has become a destination to work, live & play; no longer a place to avoid. Enjoy your search... it's a wonderful time to buy.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 6, 2007
The best way to find out if an area is a crime free area is to check with the local police. Find the crime records and see where crimes are happening. Go to the area on a weekend and speak with the residents of the community, the store owners, etc. . Take a trip there in the late evening and see what the atmosphere is like.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 6, 2007
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