How to Analyze a Neighborhood before Buying a Home
You know exactly what you want in a home. You know how many bedrooms and bathrooms they’ll be, whether you want an attached or detached garage, a basement, a large kitchen, or walk-in closets. And while you have a picture-perfect vision for the home you’d like to purchase, we have to stop and ask if you’ve considered the type of neighborhood that home will in. For many, especially those with children, the type of neighborhood will dictate the areas in which they even look for a home – and it’s not just about crime rates.
Townships and Public Services
What are the tax rates in the towns you’re considering? Are they unrealistically low; unreasonably high? Take a look around the town to see if funding has been cut for traditional services. Are the parks well-maintained? Does the local library have normal hours? Are there any signs that the township is in distress? If so, you may want to look elsewhere.
Social Cues Matter
When you drive around your intended neighborhood, do you see a lot of for-sale signs? We’re not talking homes alone, either. Are businesses moving or closing down altogether? That’s a sign that the town’s economy is struggling.
Look for things that matter to you as well. Are there safe running or bicycling trails? Is your favorite type of café within close proximity? Is there a generally quiet atmosphere or can you constantly hear noise from a nearby highway or airport?
Examine the School District
Do some research on the quality of the school district. Is this a place where families will want to raise their children. The importance of the answer to this question does not hinge on whether or not you have children of your own or ever plan to; or even if you homeschool the children you do have. It will matter if you ever decide to sell your home, as you may end up selling to a family.
Talk to the Neighbors
Take a walk through the neighborhood around the homes you’re considering and knock on a couple of doors. Introduce yourself as a prospective buyer and ask for a few minutes of time. Your potential neighbors won’t mind filling you in on the pros and cons of the surrounding area, your prospective immediate neighbors, and more.
There’s a lot to look for in a neighborhood as well as in a home. Ask your real estate agent for help finding homes in areas that meet your specifications. Most can guide you in the right direction with ease.