When you plan on purchasing a home, you are also investing in a neighborhood. Therefore, you should be extra careful in choosing the area you will live in.
1. Crime rates
Do a Google search and you will find out the crime rates in the neighborhood you are interested in. It is also helpful to read the local newspaper or ask your agent about your concerns. Living in a safe neighborhood is the most important thing. Larger urban areas usually have detailed crime reports, whereas smaller towns only have general information.
You can also contact the local police department for details. This might be the best source for information on crime rates and safety. The police will also tell you how active the community involves in crime prevention and crime policing.
The best way to learn about a neighborhood is to ask an expert on it! If you know someone who lives there it is ideal, but an agent who specializes in the area can be just as helpful, even if they don't know the best underground restaurants.
Spend some time walking around the neighborhood and talking to local neighbors to get to know the environment. Pay attention to the condition of the houses, front years, sidewalks and streets.
Take note of vacant lots or abandoned buildings. If they are used for commercial developments in the future, the vibe of the community and property values could be changed. You should also pay attention to the traffic in the main streets and estimate the total time for your commute to work.
3. Public transportation
Public transportation could be an alternative to driving. You should know if nearby bus stops and train stations are available. During peak times, how often does the transit stop? If you need access to the airport, how far is the drive? What is the cost to hire a taxi? Is public transportation an option?
4. Nearby schools
A well-kept school is the sign of a good neighborhood. You can learn about the school online if you have school-aged children. Take note of how large the classes are, how well the students perform on standardized tests, and what the graduation rate is. We've found niche.com is our favorite for analyzing school options (and no that's not even an ad, they have their stuff together.)
5. Future Development
You can find the information at city hall or through the local Chamber of Commerce. Future developments change a community, increase traffic, and increase taxes. It's a good idea to research the future potential of the neighborhood and then decide whether the outlook will be suitable for you and your family.
6. Property taxes
You should find out the current tax rate and the increase rate in the last five years. You can get the information from your agent or from the city hall. Ask them if there is another expected increase and how much you might pay in five years.
Maybe having certain amenities nearby is important to you. Again, make sure you do your research and see what the area has to offer for your tastes and preferences.