Class B in a OLD Eastern City

3 Replies

The property class descriptions often include age of the property as a major factor in determining property class, can you help me understand how much this weights when applying to urban areas or small east coast towns.

For example, I live in the Fingerlakes, in a small town lakefront town that attracts many tourists.   The "city center" is full of beautiful homes, circa 1900, many of which are fully restored and updated.   The school district is very good.   There is a beautiful lake and many nice restaurants, shops, and wineries you can walk to.   Many people come here for weddings.   There are several old fashioned B+Bs, beautiful parks, etc.

Lakefront property is clearly "A" regardless of age, as long as it is nicely renovated/maintained.  I feel the city center property is "A" or "B" depending on the street.   There is almost no subsidized housing in the city proper, the "C" or lower neighborhoods tend to be on the outskirts/outer edges of town.   There is almost 0 crime in the town, many people don't even lock their doors.

I own a multi-family rental in Buffalo NY in what I would also consider a "B" area, regardless of age.   It is an area where ALL the houses are 1900 era, but there are many high end shops, restaurants, bike paths, parks, and gentrification/renovation of homes. People are really into gardening, and there is a tourist garden-walk through this neighborhood each year. There is a huge university and a very large medical campus within 1 mile.   In this area the public schools are not great but many residents use private or charter schools, and many residents are young professionals, having fun with city living before having children.

However, that said, the maintenance can be very costly unless you purchase a home that was already completely gutted/re-habbed.

Am I using the property classification incorrectly?


@Sandra Bell , this is really more art than science, varies widely by location...and I think you're totally over thinking this.

Here's how I approach it:
A-Class: Newer, well maintained, most expensive. Mostly white-collar tenants. Some young families
B-Class: Still well maintained, but older and not as nice. Younger white-collar couples. Solid blue-collar families.
C-Class: Serviceable, but not "nice." Older, probably not as well maintained. Often very mixed neighborhoods, i.e. a nice property will be right next to a craphole. A lot of folks transitioning, either up from D or up to B.
D-Class: War zone. Avoid at all costs.

I'd argue that there are definitely some A class old houses, especially in places that are known for their classic architecture. 

One of the cleanest / most modern / most energy efficient (for its size) houses I've ever seen was built in 1837. If not for the foot-thick brick walls, you'd never know it wasn't new construction. 

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Thank you both the reassurance.   I'm new to this and learning but I think Post-Gentrification Elmwood Village in Buffalo NY is mostly Class B.   You cant find Single or Multi below $300K (unless there was a fire or something).   It is hard to find a property that provides great cash flow (if you are buying today - those that bought 10 years ago are doing great).