Buying a new home is a complex proposition. Not only do you have to find the right home you have to make sure you find the right neighborhood as well, neighborhoods can be deceiving. You may be moving into your new neighborhood or community and be thinking too much of a good thing is the worst of your problems, only to find out your new digs don’t have even one bit of a good thing. So, to avoid the possibility of that scenario you’ll have to do some sneaking around before you buy.
What Happens in the Neighborhood…
…ends up on channel 5 news every night. Does your prospective neighborhood or community turn into a war zone the moment the sun goes down? Do you turn on the 6 o ‘clock news to see what’s going on every night in the community where you are thinking of moving to? If the neighborhood that has that dream home of yours do this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde every night you might think of finding someplace else to live. That saying location…location…location, exists for a very good reason. If you’re looking at a house that seems to be just too cheap to be true there’s probably a very good reason for it.
What to Look For
Sometimes the woes of a community are not all that evident and take a more practiced eye to ferret out the problems. While you drive around you should be looking for things like empty buildings, unkempt streets, houses in a state of disrepair, or yards that look like a junkyard. If the yards are landscaped, or just well kempt that’s a good sign. How about the houses themselves? Do they have peeling paint and bars over the windows? Those are the obvious things. You should also look for businesses that seem to be in operation but for some reason are closed during business hours. You may want to think twice if the businesses that are open happen to be bars, adult bookstores, tattoo parlors, payday loan shops, massage parlors, and strip clubs.
Look for children’s playgrounds that are devoid of children, or playgrounds that seem to be the hangout for post high-school age guys. Do you see people outside in the daytime? Do they seem relaxed and at ease or do they look like they’re afraid and really do not want to be walking down that street? Look for graffiti that is not art but possible gang signs. Does it look like the city is on top of the problem or the buildings are being overrun by tagging from street gangs. Make sure you visit the neighborhood on different days and nights of the week to see if your neighborhood turns into one huge party as soon as it gets dark.
Things I Want to See
Now what about the things you want to see in your prospective neighborhood? Are there school full of children and parks with children and their babysitters playing in the sun? If a community is not safe you’re probably not going to see some young mother taking a leisurely walk around the block with her baby. If you have kids you’ll want to find a community that has children’s playgrounds, schools, and businesses like bouncy houses and hands on museums that cater to children. I would look for libraries, well lit streets, and grocery stores instead of liquor stores.
Talk to People
And finally, before you decide on a particular neighborhood or community, talk to the people you see there. You will find that most people, if they hate living there will want to spare you from making the same mistake they did by moving there. If they love the place they will usually be happy to extoll its virtues. If you have young children go to one of the children’s parks or playgrounds and ask the adults there about what the neighborhood has to offer. No neighborhood is perfect. They should also be able to tell you all the places to avoid as well and that information can be much more important than where the best yogurt shop is. Who knows, you might even make a few friends before you even move in.
“Travis Bayles is an independent real estate researcher. He enjoys
sharing his insights on various property publications and websites.
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