When buying a home is it still all about finding the best location or is it something more? It’s true that for as long as most can remember, experts have said “location, location, location” is the determining factor, however, maybe it isn’t.
It’s always important to consider where the home is located and what the neighborhood is like, however there are some other things to look out for.
Remember, once the cardboard boxes are unpacked and the dining set, sofa and other furniture is in its place, you’re there to stay. So, before moving into the neighborhood, you might want to check around before actually sign on the dotted line.
In the end, this you could save you a lot of problems in the long run. Here are some tips to get started.
Where is home?
Begin by asking yourself and others family members what area you want to set down roots? Would you like to live in the center of a city? A smaller suburb? Off the beaten path in a rural section of a town? You should consider how far you will have to commute, where you will shop, schools and the type of community you wish to reside.
Start by driving around or if possible, take a walk around the neighborhood on your own. While doing so, take notice of the general upkeep: Is it well-kept? Even smaller lots in modestly priced neighborhoods, could show pride of ownership that upholds property values. Look for vacant lots as they might be zoned for commercial use or become neighborhood landfills at some future point.
Investigate to see how many and what kinds of crimes have happened in the area. Start at the local police department, which should be able to provide statistics. Check alleys and public buildings for graffiti and litter.
Be sure to look at the schools in the area in question since families with young children often pick a school district before they buy a house. Local schools report how much is spent per child and always ask for test scores and judge for yourself the quality of learning.
When home hunting, also consider the commute to work. It’s better to know how long, rather than how far. Find out how close trains and buses operate and seek out parks and other recreational facilities. Nearby retail stores or strip centers are also important factors for when you need groceries, prescriptions, housewares, etc.
Home values and other costs
Make sure to research recent selling prices for other houses in the neighborhood and how much houses have increased in value in the past 15 years. Ask how much property taxes have increased, too, so you are well informed.
If possible, interview other neighbors what utility costs are. Call the water, gas, cable and electric companies for current rates. Utilities can add a lot to the monthly cost of a house.
Listen for traffic and noise by driving around the neighborhood at different times of the day and note the amount of activity. Do you hear loud parties at 1 a.m.? Do cars clog the roads during commuting hours? It’s better to know ahead of time whether the neighborhood is a noisy one as opposed to once you move in.
Search for future development by looking for new construction in the neighborhood. Rapid growth can be a sign of higher property values, but also traffic issues. Read the local newspapers and magazines for information about new housing developments, and find out what facilities (schools, roads, etc.) will be built if the area is expanding.
Keep in mind that all neighborhoods have their own unique personalities and finding one that you feel comfortable living near can sometimes be as difficult as finding the ideal home.
In conclusion, we all want to feel comfortable in our neighborhoods, as well as inside of our homes, so be sure of what you’re potentially getting into before you make the move.