Buying a home? choose your the neighborhood first.
Are you in the home buying mode? Perhaps it’s your first, or you could be an experienced home buyer. Either way, it is easy to get caught up in the features and design of a home and not pay enough attention to the neighborhood. Ask a real estate agent, and most will tell you that it is easier to show homes than land. It’s not a money thing. Instead of trying to help a couple to visualize what a home would look like on a vacant lot, it is far easier to open the door and let one spouse gush over the kitchen and the other head straight for the garage workshop.
If you’re shopping for homes, you are likely doing a lot of it online, and maybe for months before you get face-to-face with a Realtor. That’s great, but get out from behind that computer screen and do a lot of driving around. You want to see the neighborhoods and the homes around the ones that are for sale. You can remodel or improve a home, but not a neighborhood. You do not want to make a location mistake because you fall in love with a kitchen or backyard deck. What are you looking for, or better yet, what do you not want to see?
If you don’t have children or plan to, then this one is not really important to you. However, what about when you go to sell the home? If you didn’t bother with checking school quality and it isn’t that great, you could be ruling out a great many buyers in the future when you need them.
People with young children will normally be interested in the traffic on the street where the home sits. Through streets normally have more traffic, while subdivisions that have many side streets that do not pass through will have far less traffic in front of most homes. How long are the blocks in the neighborhood? Many people really do not think about this. But, in one case, a father on a very long block had to ask for police assistance because there were drag races every weekend.
Another thing you want to do if there are through streets, and especially if the neighborhood borders a popular shopping area or green belt, is observe traffic at different times of the day. If you’re interested in a home, check out the neighborhood traffic early in the morning and after normal business hours as well. Check out the weekends if that shopping area or green area is next door.
How the Home Compares
This is about the characteristics of the home you are considering as compared to the other homes. This is not only a pricing consideration on the front end, it is important when it comes time to sell the home. The smallest home is often a great choice. In a neighborhood of 4 bedroom and 3 bath homes over 2,000 square feet, the 3 bedroom and 2 bath home with 1,500 square feet may be a great choice.
First, it is a less expensive way to enjoy the amenities of the neighborhood, as the larger homes will command higher prices. This is also exactly why it is an easier resale later. This is especially true because many buyers who may love a stately neighborhood of large homes may not be able to qualify for or afford those big homes. They will jump on a smaller and more affordable way to get into the neighborhood.
Rental Homes or Apartments
This isn’t a bad attitude about renters, but if there is a high percentage of rental homes or there are apartments in or around the neighborhood, it can impact home values negatively. The transient nature of renters can cause some home buyers to avoid the area, so you will not see them when you want to sell.
Those are the major points to consider when you’re out there house hunting. Keep them in mind, as you can update that kitchen and make it amazing, but the neighborhood is what it is.
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