How to Analyze a Neighborhood before Buying a Home

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.

What to Look for When Choosing a New Neighborhood

What to Look for When Choosing a New Neighborhood

When searching for a new home, a lot of people get caught up in the price and the features they want to see in the house themselves. Then they move into a neighborhood and realize they aren’t near anything useful, hate the school system, and have questionable neighbors. When preparing to move, it’s helpful to do some research on the neighborhoods you’re considering before narrowing down your home choices.

Safety Comes First

Always, always check the safety statistics for a new area. While there is no sure-fire way to guarantee you’ll never be the victim of a crime, you can decrease your odds but choosing a neighborhood that doesn’t have high crime rates. If your potential neighborhood is in the news every day, you may want to consider looking elsewhere. You should also check the national directories for registered sex offenders; especially if you have children.

Proximity to Important Destinations

Where do you go on a regular basis? Work? School? A long-term care facility where a loved family member lives? To visit family and close friends? How far away from these things will your new neighborhood put you? Would you mind being further away from work if you could be closer to family?

Other important destinations to consider include shopping malls, grocery stores, banks, gyms, and any other entertainment or shopping venue you consider important. It’s one thing to buy a quiet home in the suburbs and quite another to realize you have to make a full day-trip to do any sort of affordable shopping.

What is the Cost of Living?

This is especially important to consider if you are moving a distance. You are going to find that the cost of living can be different in varying areas of the same state. There are quite a few cost-of-living calculators online. Use them to calculate the cost of moving to several different localities.

Do You Use Public Transportation?

Is public transportation important to you, or necessary? If so, make sure the area you are considering has a reliable system. Do you prefer taking the bus or train to work? Maybe you want to move to a neighborhood that is considered bicycle-friendly. Check out schedules, paths, and anything else important to your day-to-day routine.

Make a list of priorities before you start house hunting. Determine which things you’d like to see in a neighborhood are absolute must-have items and which are simply desires. Make sure you share this list with your real estate agent as well. Try to find an area that is affordable and meets as many of your needs as possible. You may have to compromise a bit, but the time spent will make you much happier in the end.