Check Your Surroundings Before You Buy
In today’s hot real estate market, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of rushing to beat out other potential buyers. If you think you’ve found your dream home, you’ll want to put in an offer as quickly as possible or risk the chance of missing out. But before you make that offer, it’s important to take a step back and really look at all aspects of the property you’re thinking about buying.
While you may love the home and the lot it’s on, don’t forget that every neighborhood is unique. Once you’ve purchased a home, you can’t pick it up and move it. This makes the surrounding area just as important as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Not quite sure how to research a home’s neighborhood or what you should be looking for? Here are a few places to start.
- Area Crime Maps
Sometimes, even the best-looking neighborhoods aren’t free from crime. You don’t want to buy a home where you won’t feel safe, or you’ll have to constantly worry about theft.
- School Districts Evaluations
If you have children, you’ll definitely want to check out area school districts before you put in an offer on a new home. Even if you don’t have children, it’s important to remember that the quality of a home’s school districts can significantly impact its resale value.
- HOA Restrictions
If the home you’re considering is in a homeowner’s association, you’ll want to get a copy of the HOA documents before making your offer. Not only is it important to know how much this will add to your monthly expenses, but you also need to understand the restrictions they have in place. The last thing you want to do is move into a home and find out your pets aren’t allowed or that you can’t park your truck in your driveway.
- Local Public Records
Researching public records takes a bit more effort but is well worth it. This will help you evaluate your neighborhood not just for what it is but for what it could be. Start by looking at the other types of property nearby and finding out whether your area is zoned for commercial use.
You’ll also want to find out if there are restrictions for remodeling, if short-term rentals are allowed, and whether there have been any chemical spills, contamination, or other environmental hazards nearby. In addition, it’s a good idea to do an online search for your neighborhood to see if anything comes up in the news. This could help you find out about possible development or other local issues that may impact you. Visits and Conversations
Last, but certainly not least, it’s a great idea to visit your potential new neighborhood at different times of the day. You may find that traffic is ridiculous at rush hour or that your neighbors love having loud parties well into the night.
If you can, also try to speak to your potential neighbors to see what they think about living there. This can often be the best way to find out things you wouldn’t otherwise have thought to ask about.
While checking out your potential new neighborhood does take a bit of time and effort, it’s still a good idea. Doing a bit of research now can save you from serious problems in the long run.
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