Looking to Buy a Home in Wauwatosa, Questiojns About Schools, Home Prices, Etc.

Updated on February 17, 2009
M.B. asks from Milwaukee, WI
7 answers

Hi there! I'm looking to buy a home soon and am hoping some of you can give me advice. We live in Milwaukee and want to buy a home in Wauwatosa because friends and family have said the schools in that district are better than MPS schools. We can only afford maybe $120-130, for 2-3 bedrooms, and there are almost no listings for that price but I'm hopeful we can find *something*. Is there some possibility I'm overlooking? Are there other neighborhoods that have good schools that aren't a very long commute from downtown (where hubby works)... My job is being eliminated in June or earlier, and we need to get pre-approved for a loan so we can buy a house, but my hubby says I can't tell the bank that I'm losing my job or we won't be able to get a loan at all. Is that true? (sometimes my hubby doesn't know everything, heh.) Any advice you can provide will be helpful, many many thanks! We just want a safe home for our toddler girl :)

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answers from Milwaukee on

Hi Melissa.

My husband is a home inspector, and I'd like to warn you about buying anything that's cheap for the area (for example, a house in the $130's in Wauwatosa). Usually, houses that are really cheap have some major problems that will cost a lot to fix and need to be fixed immediately to prevent further damage to the house (e.g., a roof for $5000, many windows that need to be replaced so bad that water is leaking into the house, can be as high as $5000 or more; new gutters and downspouts, $2500; foundation problem - the sky's the limit, etc., etc.). I'd recommend either choosing another locale or buying a duplex where you can rent half out.
We live in Waukesha where you can get a decent smaller house for $140, with lower taxes than Wauwatosa and great schools. It's farther, but a 20 to 30 minute drive during non-rush periods on the freeway to downtown.
Good luck! Feel free to email me if you have questions.

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answers from Milwaukee on

In Wauwatosa you may have a hard time finding a home for your price range or at least one that won't require a ton of work. HOwever, you might be lucky as there are a lot of foreclosures everywhere. I live in Waukesha and I love it. There are many homes for sale in this city and probably in your price range. The school system is very good compared to MPS that's for sure. I wouldn't mention your job loss in June -that will hurt your chances - banks are very strict now on lending money ( I work in one) so you must have everything in order to qualfiy and get pre-approved - any loss in income can hurt - unless your husband's income is sufficient to afford the payments and your debt to equity ratio is low enough. If Wauwatosa doesn't work out - check out Waukesha or even Oconomowoc. Good luck!

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answers from Milwaukee on

hi, we were there. Now we are renting in Brookfield, WI.
I used Greatschols.com. Is a very good website and you will find all kind of information to help you.
It also depend wich are your priorities. For us was school. The best, they said, are in very expensive areas, we choose the least one, brookfield, between 3, another one is Mequon.
I also ask a realtor called Chery Kent from Shore something, she is 100 points.
good luck

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answers from Milwaukee on

We also wanted to buy in Wauwatosa in the same price range, but couldn't find anything in that area--and that was nearly 10 years ago. We bought, instead, in West Allis--a neighboring community where we were able to get much more house for the money. The schools are very good and it's actually a little closer to my husband's downtown job than Wauwatosa. We've been happy with the choice.

Best of luck to you!

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answers from Milwaukee on

My husband and I spent most of last summer looking for a home. We were looking for a 3 bedroom starter home in the $150K - $170K range and we had trouble finding anything that was in decent shape. Really to find something that didn't need a lot of work we had to look in the $180K - $200K range.

We ended up just renting a nice 3 bedroom apt for $1,200 month -- basically the house payment.

If I were you I'd look for a nice 3 bedroom home to rent -- there are a lot on the market right now because housing sales are low. Or look into a 3 bedroom condo -- those we found in the $120K -- $160K range that were decent.

Good luck.

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answers from Milwaukee on

I live in Cedarburg so I'm not totally familiar with listings in Wauwatosa, but wanted to comment on the loan question. If you and your husband are confident you can make ends meet on a house, I see absolutely no reason to tell the bank about your job...no good can come of it! Your husband is 100% correct! Loose lips sink ships! :)

I wish you the best in your home search! I hope you find just what you're looking for!

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answers from Milwaukee on

First about the loan... you have to tell the bank what your income is now, bring proof and so on... banks can check up and call your work places to double check what you provided is correct so your job might tell them that as of June you will not have a job.

Depending on what your hubby makes you still can get approved in the range you are looking in. Be super careful and double check all your finances to make sure you know what you can afford. I know our bank offered us higher then what we thought we could afford without stretching yourselves too thin. So just keep that in mind, morethenlikely the price range you are looking at is reasonable (that is the price range we bought in, but in Waukesha).

Just looked on the Shorewest website and found houses in the price range you are looking for in Wauwatosa (but no sure what areas of Wauwatosa you are looking in)... here is a link (may or may not work.. but just type in shorewest, wi and then find the home finder on the right side of the screen.)


House hunting can take a long time but I really enjoyed the house hunting so I got it done in 2 months (hunting and closing on a house) so it can be done quickly if you are willing to settle for a house that is not your dream house. We are in a starter home that needs some fixing but in 6 years we hope to sell and buy a house that has more room.

Best of luck! If you need a 'buddy' to toss ideas around with feel free to e-mail me, as I said before I love house hunting (and I am not a Realtor so no worries there).

Oh call a Realtor, they will help you look for a house, and they do not get paid unless you actually buy a house. We went with shorewest, they were really helpful and 'held our hand' since we were first time home buyers! As long as you go with a company that is experienced they know what they are doing and are a huge help!

Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful
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