Jenae: Putting Down Roots

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Jenae moved to Buffalo last summer after spending most of her life in Colorado and Oklahoma. She quickly decided to settle down in Snyder, a neighborhood characterized by lovely old houses, cherished family traditions, and easy access to the city. Read on for some of Jenae's reflections on a booming Buffalo market and the ins and outs of purchasing an old home full of "character." 

What was your impression of the Buffalo housing market before you moved here? Did that impression change at all once you started house hunting?

When I first moved to WNY in 2015, someone told me the real estate market has been one that increases 2.9% in bad years and 3.2% in good years. So, my impression that it was a steady and slow−but solid and generally positive market − was challenged when I got to Buffalo and realized the market is doing inordinately well in many parts of the city.

How did you choose Snyder as a neighborhood? Did you look other neighborhoods?

Being from the West where you find sprawling urban centers, I have come to love the small village feel of the north east. Initially, what I knew of Snyder and Williamsville is that it is a highly sought-after neighborhood where houses rarely go on the market (good for liquidity and asset value).

Snyder is safe and quiet… you just can’t beat the sound of Friday night football games at the high school and Santa borrowing the Snyder FD’s firetruck to cruise the neighborhood on Christmas Eve!

I wanted to land in an area where people stick around and root down. What I’ve since learned is people's long histories and deep attachments to this neighborhood make it feel like home. Snyder is safe and quiet… you just can’t beat the sound of Friday night football games at the high school and Santa borrowing the Snyder FD’s firetruck to cruise the neighborhood on Christmas Eve!

What was the house hunting process like for you?  

I had to move quickly, so I wasn’t house hunting seriously for more than a couple of weeks. In fact, I was looking at an online map of houses for sale and there was nothing available in all

of Snyder, but tons of houses everywhere else. Then suddenly, I saw a marker pop up right in the middle of Snyder, ran over to see the house, and ended up buying it.

What stood out about the house you chose?

I was interested at first in the big yard, great porch, and beautiful street. It has a lot of its original charm – woodwork and inset shelves − but had been updated in the kitchen and bathroom. The main floor is a nice layout for my needs, though I wish it had a main floor bath.

Did anything surprise you about your house after you moved in?

The original windows made it feel like living in a tent once winter came. Also, the previous owners left me a rug and some nice furniture… as it turns out, the rug was covering pet stains that had ruined the hardwood. So, there were some lessons learned.

Have you made any major changes to the house or is there anything you plan to change in the future?

I have replaced all of the windows, which made an instant 10-degree difference in the house, and I may add an attic fan for the summertime. Other than that, I plan to redo the upstairs bathroom then focus on getting the grass up to baseball field standards.

What do you wish you had known before you started your house hunting process?

The market being what it is, there’s not a lot of time for being tentative and your negotiating position is weakened by the buyer competition. That said, I wish I had taken the time to really inspect the house carefully to have had extra information with which to negotiate.

Also, there are some “special features” of these older homes that a new home buyer should be aware of. For example, I learned that any improvements I may wish to make to the HVAC system (like adding AC) are prohibitively expensive − if not impossible − without destroying walls and the ceiling because of the creative duct work. If timing permits, new home buyers may consider getting opinions on future improvements early.

Margaret Healy