September 14th, 2011
If you’re a potential home buyer, you probably have an idea of what your dream home would look like. But have you thought about your dream neighborhood? With the instability of the housing market, it’s important to look for a home that you can bet will keep its value. And the neighborhood/surrounding area has a bigger impact on home value than you might think.
In her blog post “Vet the Neighborhood Before You Buy,” Erika Riggs discusses the importance of exploring the neighborhood before you buy, and the best way of going about your exploration. Riggs offers the following tips:
Check for any nearby foreclosures. Foreclosures have a tremendous impact on surrounding home values, so you should work with a real estate agent to find out if there are any in the neighborhood.
Look up crime statistics. Crime rates are typically public information, so visit the local police department or check online for the stats. Homes that are in safe areas are less likely to lose value, regardless of the market, as the demand is there.
Visit at different hours. The neighborhood at 10 a.m. on a Monday may be quite different than at 10 p.m. on a Saturday. Getting a feel for the area at different times will guarantee that it’s the right fit for all the time.
Talk to locals. If there are any people outside during your visit, stop and ask them what the neighborhood is like. Someone who lives there will obviously know best. A mail carrier is also a good person to ask, as they don’t have any stake and can give you an outside perspective.
Do research. The Internet is a great way to compile a bunch of different opinions. Google the neighborhood or street name and see what comes up.