The last thing that you want to do is choose the wrong neighborhood to live in when buying a home. But making the move to an area that you’re not entirely familiar with poses multiple risks. You’re not only making a financial commitment that could come back to bite you, but you’re making a decision that could potentially cost you tranquility where you need it most.
Let’s focus on some tips that will prevent you from making the wrong decision.
Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept…
A budget is the first thing that you should figure out. Having a budget will then allow you to identify your wants, needs, and what you might like to have in a house
Albeit, a relocation across the country doesn’t make scouting out your new home the easiest of your tasks at hand..
There are social networks that allow you to get a feel for the day-to-day rituals and highly anticipated downtime of the locals. Although, you cannot join these networks, such as Nextdoor, until you verify that you have obtained an address in the neighborhood, a little reconnaissance keenly reveals the rituals and daily concerns of the areas you’re interested in.
After gaining a general knowledge of an area that you’d like to live, websites such as City-Data can provide sought-after data from several sources to reveal general profiles of U.S. cities. Examples of the information that you can access are crime rates, weather patterns, and tax rates. Homefacts provides a lot of the same information, then magnifies your search to an even larger extent by sharing specific neighborhood statistics, i.e., average home price, homes for sale, and foreclosures.
AreaVibes can assist further by narrowing down a search by zipcode of city name. You simply maneuver metrics, like amenities, crime, cost of living, housing prices, etc., to ultimately obtain a reported listing of neighborhoods that encompass the wants and needs you’ve identified. There might be even more factors that these websites help you to identify that never even crossed your mind prior to your search!
Many regions have newspapers and magazines to supplement your search. Many of these, depending on the area, publish their rankings of the acclaimed best neighborhoods to be found online. So why not investigate and find out whether the area you’re looking to move to has the same opportunity for homebuyers.
If you’re a fan of lists, check out Livability. This website provides city rankings for several topics such as, small towns, college towns, and overall best places to live. These rankings and lists are regularly developed, so they can be trusted when looking for guidance in where to buy.
Local Chamber of Commerce offices in most towns are happy to provide as much information as possible for people looking to relocate to their area. One very important fact to check is any recent news on property taxes. Where property taxes are failing, it usually means that the entire community is suffering from cut backs on public services.
Whether you have children or not, it’s important to know that highly reputable schools are a major determining factor of home values in a neighborhood. If you have children to consider in your move, you’ll be doing yourself a favor to get multiple opinions on public schools. A great way to do so is to look at GreatSchools.org. This also allows one to see what available day care and/or after-school programs or activities are close by.
Ask a Professional
When relocating to a new area, seeking the advice of a professional is going to benefit you greatly.
Professionals in real estate should have a deep knowledge of the area that they can use to help you find the best place for you. They should be able to recommend neighborhoods and homes that fit your budget and wants and needs. Additionally, they should be able to provide you with plenty of background information as sound proof to help you base your decision off of. Before you ask a professional, have a couple different areas in mind.
Now’s the Time to Mingle
Alright, so you’ve done all of the research you could without immersing yourself in the culture. Now it’s time to dive in and get involved. As you drive around and get to know the streets and area better, keep an eye out for the following:
Are there many “for sale” signs on lawns?
Are there any abandoned or boarded-up houses in the vicinity?
Is there a lot of trash on the sidewalks?
Is the neighborhood close to a shopping or business area?
How well are neighborhood parks maintained?
Is street parking restricted after school and during rush hour?
Do yourself a favor and study up on upcoming open houses in the area you’re looking to move to. This is one of the best ways to comfortably walk around the area and get a feel for the property value. Make it a point to talk to locals if you come across them on your ventures. Ask them their thoughts on the area and the community.
Take advantage of apps on your phone such as Meetup and AroundMe to help you meet new people with similar interests, and use it to find interesting local hangouts. It’s also never a bad idea to make time for a drink in a local bar or café and to talk to locals there.
Remember, these individuals have the potential to be your new neighbors. The impressions you gain from them will be a huge indicator of whether or not you’ll be pleased with your decision to move to the area.