You have decided you are ready to take on home-ownership and you can’t wait to get started! But wait! Don’t jump in until you have laid the very important groundwork of choosing where you want to lay down your roots. If you are moving to a whole new city, researching a neighborhood is vitally important. However, even if you are purchasing property in the town where you grew up, these tips may lead you to learn more about local neighborhoods than you already know.For instance, you may be interested in Colorado Real Estate; but do you choose Denver CO Real Estate, a place in Boulder, or do you go straight for the posh lifestyle near Aspen? Some specific towns may sound inviting; but once you do your research, you might find that a neighborhood you hadn’t even considered actually possesses all of the commodities you need to live a happy life.
When looking for your new home, make a list of neighborhoods of interest. This is best done after investigating facets of the neighborhood such as:
- Property values
- Schools (check quality by talking with local parents and also by looking up test scores on the school website)
- Crime rate
- Proximity of necessities such as entertainment, schools, shopping, hospitals, freeways, even prisons or jails. If you are a beach bum, it would make more sense to live in close proximity of the coast; if the mountains call to you all throughout the year, you’ll be happier in a neighborhood that allows you to reach ski slopes or hiking trails within thirty minutes; not two hours. If time is quite valuable to you, then you may prefer a neighborhood close to the city so you don’t have to commute each and every day.
Another way of performing research is to drive through the neighborhoods you may consider. Drive through during different times of day, not just when your Realtor is showing you properties. This is a good way to determine how traffic may flow, or how safe an area seems after dark. As you drive through neighborhoods, look at how many For Sale signs are up; how many sales are pending and how many Sold signs are present. This helps you determine the overall appeal of a neighborhood, and also gives you an idea of resale value.
Once you are working with a Realtor, pick their brain on what neighborhoods are holding value, which are “up and coming” and what community involvement is like in different parts of the area you are considering. Especially if you are new to an area, you will have to put a good deal of trust in your Realtor. Pay close attention to how he or she answers your questions. Are they able to provide relevant and detailed information regarding a neighborhood, or do you sense they may be pushing a specific property or area?
Above all, listen to your gut. Doing your own research puts you in the driver’s seat and ensures you make a more informed decision than if you leave all of your home-buying efforts to your Realtor. It is also time worth spent, as it will lead you to the home that is ideal for your family.