You’ve fallen in love with a home, and you’re thinking about pulling the trigger on buying it. You’ve done your due diligence on the property itself – but have you looked at the surrounding area?
Neighborhoods are an important factor in achieving a comfortable home life, and should be top among the steps to buy a house that you’ll go through.
Here are some ways to check out a neighborhood before you decide to settle there.
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Consider its Walkability
If you value a place where you can stroll along the streets in safety and with minor inconvenience, determine the neighborhood’s walkability.
This is determined by whether you can walk to places like the grocery store, how spread out the homes are, how connected things are via sidewalks and bike paths, as well as access to public transportation.
A low walkability score means you will need to depend on a car to get around, while a high walkability score affords you the option to set out on foot to many important places.
Test Out Your Daily Commute
Determining your route digitally via Google Maps is one thing – actually driving to your place of work from your potential home is another.
Do a test run at the typical time and day you would be heading to work to determine traffic patterns and whether or not other options for commuting may be better for you, such as biking or taking public transport.
Are there places to stop for breakfast along the way? For dinner or errands on the way home?
Look at Property Value Trends
If you’re making an investment in a home, you want to know what the general market of the neighborhood is like.
These trends will tell you whether home prices in the neighborhood are going up, remaining consistent, or trending downwards.
Check Out Crime Statistics
Safety is vital for you to feel at home, so you want to do your research on crime rates in the area.
Do some general googling and look at local news but also consider using aggregate crime data sites like CityProtect and NeighborhoodScout to gather information.
Utilize Social Media
Nowadays, many towns and cities have Facebook groups for members to have discussions in. These can be officially groups made by the town itself to share information about the goings-on, or more informal groups hosted by town residents to talk about the inner workings of the area.
Go Visit – and Start Talking
Actually walking or driving the neighborhood is the best way to experience it. You can see firsthand what the noise level is like, the shape the streets and other homes are in, what the people who live in the area are like.
Sit down at a local restaurant or grab groceries at the corner store to also get a feel for what you’re in for.
And while you’re there, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation! Perhaps your best source of information is the people who are currently residing there. Find out for how long they’ve been around, and what they like and dislike about the area.