The number one concern on every buyer’s mind is purchasing a home in the right neighborhood. No one wants to pick a bad one and everyone wants to pick the right one. So how do you know which neighborhood is right for you? The answer is research, research, and research. Here are some tools and strategies to use for your homework on this topic.
1) One of the reasons why you are hiring a Realtor to represent you is because they’re a neighborhood expert. They should know more than anyone else about the areas you are interested in. Rely on them, their opinion, expertise, and knowledge. If you have reasons to believe that they are not being straight with you, then fact-check what they tell you.
2) Friends and Neighbors. This is a great source of information. If you know of someone living in that neighborhood, chances are, they’ll give you the straight scoop. If you do not, don’t be afraid to knock on the neighbors’ doors next to the home you are considering buying. Many times, the neighbors will be forthcoming with the news of the neighborhood.
3) School districts are big. If you have school-age kids, then chances are, you already have found all the websites that rate schools in neighborhoods and cities. Everyone wants to be in the best school districts and the number one rated schools. I like to use greatschools.org for ratings in Colorado.
4) Safety is always a big concern, and rightly so. People want to know that they are buying in a safe neighborhood. For this, I like to use Crimereports.com. All you need to do is type in the address of the home you are interested in and it will show you the crimes in your area with details. It will also show you all the registered sex offenders, their addresses and information. You can sort crimes by date and type.
5) Activities. Let’s face it: this is going to be a home to live, work, and play. As such, you want to make sure that it’s close and convenient to a variety of activities for you and your family. Many local Realtors have community pages on their website, advertising activities in the area or an events calendar. Even more info can be found on Facebook pages of that particular city or neighborhood.
There are other important factors in choosing a neighborhood, like noise, walkability, and resale value; but the criteria above is clearly your top five. Happy house hunting!