Home Buying: Why Researching the Neighborhood Matters

real estate neighborhood

So you’re in the market for a home and you have a list of deal breakers: the house has to have the right amount of square footage, enough storage space, and a nice backyard– but have you considered the location of the home?  Researching the neighborhood of your potential new home helps you to protect your family’s lifestyle and keep them safe. Here are the list of things to consider when researching the location of your new potential home:

Criminal activity.

A great way to learn about any criminal activity in your neighborhood is by contacting the area’s community resource officer.  This officer can let you know about any crime trends going on in the neighborhood and may even be able to provide crime report print outs.  As unpleasant as it may be, take the time to find out if there are any sex offenders living in your neighborhood.  Familywatchdog.us is a free database that provides helpful information about any sex offenders residing in your neighborhood.

Traffic and public transportation.

Depending on the location of the home and the areas you need to get to on a daily basis, like work or school, it’s important to find out what traffic is like in your neighborhood so that you can avoid wasting time on commute. And if you rely heavily on public transportation, be sure you have easy access to it. For those who have children that rely on the school bus to get to school, make sure there is an easy and safe access point in the neighborhood. Also, if you prefer to bike, whether it’s for work or for recreational purposes, look to see if there are safely designated local bike paths in the area.

Noise level.

If you have the time, explore the neighborhood and perhaps talk to a few people who live in the area to get a feel for the neighborhood and see if there are any warning signs you should pick up on. It’s important to get a feel for the noise in the neighborhood, so consider dropping by and checking out any local surroundings; that way you can be sure you won’t be disturbed by any noise. Take note of the types of noise that you can live with and the ones that may become an annoyance such as: noises from cars and trains (if the home is located near a highway or train tracks), religious buildings (many churches have church-bells that ring for service or mass), and theme parks or malls (these places tend to create a lot of foot traffic and can sometimes cause a lot of noise).

Property taxes.

As a homeowner, you should expect to pay property taxes. Property taxes will differ from area to area, so it is advisable to research what the standard property tax rate is for your area so that you will be well prepared in your financial budget upon closing on the home.

Your neighbors.

Since you’ll be living next to these people, it’s important to have an idea of what they’re like.  Homefair.com  is a great online tool that allows you to see any neighborhood’s demographic– like if there are multiple families with young children, or if it’s predominately occupied by senior citizens.

There are many things to consider when you’re looking into buying a new home–even more than are listed in this article believe it or not. What else would you look for when researching a new neighborhood? Let us know in the comments below.

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