You did it. You found the absolute perfect house. You’re already picturing your shoes by the door, barbecues in the backyard, and the perfect furniture arrangement in the living room. There’s only one problem: the neighborhood is absolutely awful. The home is stunning. The neighborhood? Well, it’s stunning too—stunningly terrible.
“Location, location, location” is pretty much the golden rule of real estate. After all, it really is one of the few things you can’t change about a home. So, you need to pay close attention to not only the actual residence when you’re house hunting, but also the neighborhood.
Feels overwhelming, right? Don’t stress yet! Here’s what you need to know in order to find that perfect house in the perfect neighborhood.
1. Determine What You Want
As with anything, it’s pretty tough to find exactly what you’re looking for if you really have no clue what you want. So, before you even look at a single home, jot down a list of not only what you want in a house—but also the neighborhood. Do you want a young, urban area with a bustling nightlife? Do you want a quiet suburb with lots of young families and children playing in the yard? Do you want to live out in the country, where your neighbors aren’t at all nearby? Write out what’s important to you. That will be helpful to keep in mind as you begin your search.
2. Do Your Research
So, you’ve found a house that you’re interested in. But, you’re pretty unfamiliar with the area. It’s time to put on your detective hat and dig into some research to find out all that you can about the neighborhood. Search online for crime rates to confirm that the area is safe. Comb through previous news from your community to get some insider insight about the neighborhood. Get your hands on whatever you can to help you determine whether or not that spot is a good fit for you.
3. Drive By
Here’s a mistake that far too many house hunters make: they visit the home and then decide to put in an offer. The neighborhood looked just fine during the day, after all. But, on their first night in their new digs, they notice that everyone is locked up by 7PM. All night, they hear sirens and yelling. Obviously, the locale they chose isn’t necessarily the safest.
Of course, this is a pretty drastic example. But, it effectively illustrates why it’s important that you do a few drives past your potential home—during the day, at night, and even on the weekend. This will give you the total picture of what you can realistically expect from that area.
4. Count the “For Sale” Signs
While you’re driving around, go for a little spin through the rest of the neighborhood. Are there tons of “for sale” signs stuck in front yards? Or, does the area seem to have pretty low turnover?
Far too many signs in yards could be a red flag—why are people so eager to get out? Needless to say, you shouldn’t rest your entire decision on this tidbit alone. But, it can definitely be a helpful thing to take note of.
5. Ask Around
Finally, you can’t beat getting information straight from the horse’s mouth. So, don’t hesitate to ask other people what they think about the area. Whether it’s while you’re touring the home or doing your drives around the neighborhood, you’re bound to see at least one resident out and about. Go ahead and see if they have time to answer a few questions. Sure, it might seem a little aggressive. But, it’s a surefire way to get some firsthand insight and information.
Nobody wants a great house in a bad neighborhood. So, it’s important to pay attention to the area when looking for your next home. Keep these tips in mind, and you’re sure to find a neighborhood you can be happy with for years to come!
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