With all of the current mortgage troubles, it makes me wonder where common sense went on vacation for about 20 years. You cannot seriously believe that if you are paying half of your monthly income on housing that you can afford to live. HALF? OR MORE!!!
My god-mother gave me the best advice I have ever received. If you are going to get cheap real estate, you have to do one of two things: "Choose the nicest house in the crappiest neighborhood or choose the crappiest house in the nicest neighborhood." We chose the first with our first home, and the second option with our second home.
No matter how many nice embellishments you put on a home, if the cops are two doors down every other night, it is not a place to raise kiddos. However, if you take a home that needs some work in a great neighborhood, there is room for improvement. So, slowly, over the course of five years, we have improved our home, but it still needs a little more work. The view however? The absolute nicest!