Location plays a huge role in both the value of your new home and the quality of your future life in it. If you think you’ve found a bargain, step back, and think twice. Before jumping in with an offer, take some time to visit and check out the neighborhood you plan to call home — after seeing the following neighborhood problems, you might be glad that you did.
Foreclosed homes & vacant buildings
A neighborhood strewn with foreclosed homes and vacant buildings is a red flag. It’s worth taking a drive through and seeing what condition these homes are in. While you’re there, look at commercial properties to see if businesses, schools, and other facilities have also closed down. A neighborhood with a lot of vacant buildings and foreclosed homes is not a sign of a growing area and can cause property values to plummet.
Unappealing curb appeal
While visiting the neighborhood, check out the curb appeal of not only your potential home, but of those around it too. A sensible seller will pull out all the stops to make their home seem amazing, so don’t get tunnel vision, take a look around you! The exterior of a home gives you a good idea as to the people who live there. An unkempt yard, littered with garbage and overgrown grass is not a sign of pride and can point to a potentially bad neighbor.
Rental properties in a college town
College towns typically have a lot of energy and a great atmosphere, as well as plenty of places to find entertainment. However, if you’re planning on leaving those crazy college days behind you, be careful when it comes to choosing where to settle down. Neighborhoods full of rentals in a college town are normally home to college kids who probably aren’t going to lead the same lifestyle as you. If you want to avoid endless frat house parties, pranks, and other shenanigans, be sure to find out who is living in your potential neighborhood before making an offer to buy.
24-hour party people
In the same vein, keep your eyes peeled for party people living next door. The signs are easy to spot if you take time to visit at various times of the day and night. Look for lines of cars parked outside a single home, or a lot of furniture out on the deck — these can point to the dwellings of 24-hour party people, and if you’re their neighbor, that can get tiring very fast.
Problem pets mean problem neighbors
When visiting a neighborhood, pets are a good indicator of what type of neighbors you might have. If you see pets that look neglected or chained up, you might surmise that that neighbor isn’t the kind of person you wish to live near. It’s also worth visiting at night to see if dogs are constantly barking, or strays are scavenging through the trash.
Proximity to city services
We all need a constant supply of electricity, running water, and garbage disposal. However, few of us want to live near a power station, a landfill, or a prison. Noise, light pollution, and smells from production facilities can drastically reduce your quality of life and lower the value of a home. It’s unlikely that a seller will mention these things in an ad, so it’s essential that you find out what’s on your doorstep. Railways, freeways, and airports are other potential problems.
How far away are you?
You might have found a neighborhood and home that tick all the boxes. But, it still might not be the best choice for you. It’s really important to consider how far away you are from things like work, schools, shops, etc. No matter how great your home and neighborhood is, you’ll rarely get to enjoy it if you spend 3 hours commuting each day. Sage advice is to make the commute in rush hour before making an offer. Also, take the time to research future changes to roads or public transit that could improve or disrupt travel times.
The best advice when choosing a home is to visit the neighborhood and take a good look around to really get a feel for the place. Visit at different times of the day, and be sure to check that rush hour traffic to see how it might impact you. Do your research, and go into a sale with your eyes wide open to your future surroundings!