Katie McBride's Blog
It’s easy to fall in love with a house if it has all the features you’re looking for. However, it’s important not to ignore the qualities of the neighborhood the house is in as well.
The state of the surrounding neighborhood is important for many homeowners. You’ll use the local amenities, walk on the sidewalks, drive on the roads, and eventually even set the price of your home based partially on the price of those surrounding it.
In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the reasons you should pay attention to the neighborhood when shopping for homes, and what qualities to look for to find a place that has both high quality of life and resale value.
Neighborhood Inspection 101
There are a number of things you’ll want to learn about a neighborhood before you move in. Some of them you can observe with your own eye, some you can find online via public records, and others will require talking to the locals to see what their experience has been.
Things to observe
When you go to visit a home, set aside some time beforehand to drive around the neighborhood. Check out the roads, sidewalks, and the general state of the neighborhood. Boarded up houses and closed businesses aren’t always a sign of doom and gloom, but it can give you insight into the pricing of some homes and give you some negotiating power.
If you love the house and feel okay about the neighborhood swing by during rush hour, if possible. This will give you a sense of traffic and how long it will take you to get to work from your new home.
If you’re moving into a city, it’s also a good idea to check out the after-hours scene. If a peaceful evening at home is what you seek, it will be a good idea to know ahead of time if your street comes alive at night.
Things to research
It’s a good idea to get a feel for the local culture before buying a home to see if it fits with your lifestyle. Are businesses closed on Sundays? Are there community events and clubs that you ur your family would be interested in? You can find most information online through Facebook groups, library websites, and local newspapers.
If you’re concerned with crime, you can find local data online. Similarly, records are available for local schools, such as where the town’s test scores land compared to state and national averages.
Talk to the neighbors
The most practical way to learn about a neighborhood is to ask the people who live there. They’ll be able to tell you how it has changed over the years, which will give you a sense of where the neighborhood is headed. They can tell you whether it’s a neighborhood filled with young families or aging retirees, and will likely be able to let you know if there are any problems in the neighborhood.
Aside from the local culture, you should ask your potential new neighbors about the infrastructure. Do they have frequent power issues? Is there often noisy construction, or have there been potholes that haven’t been filled for years? You can learn a lot from the people who have lived in a neighborhood for multiple years.