When buying your dream home, you don’t want any surprises.
Even the perfect property that checks all the needs and wants on your desirability list, won’t be much of a home if you can’t stand living there. So once you’ve targeted a property, do some research about the neighbourhood around it.
Research the neighbourhood when buying your dream home
1. Affordability – If you can’t afford to live in a particular neighbourhood, then you probably shouldn’t. Check recent sale prices of homes in your targeted area to ensure you’re within your budget. If the property you’re considering is priced higher than the neighbourhood average, it might be overpriced. If it’s lower, it might be a bargain.
2. Amenities – Consider your lifestyle and the amenities it demands. Can you walk to the grocery store or bank, or is it a short drive? Is there green space nearby if you enjoy getting outdoors?
3. Schools – If you’ve got kids, or are planning for them, you’ll need to consider their education. Research the local school district as well as nearby schools: What is the graduation rate? What is the ratio of teachers to students in the classroom? What is the teacher turnover rate? Have the schools won awards or do they offer any specialized programs?
4. Safety – Most police departments break down crimes by neighbourhood so it’s worth finding out the crime rate for the neighbourhood you’re considering as well as those surrounding it. Do a search on the local paper’s website for the neighbourhood or street you’re considering to see if any issues come up.
Also, consider the traffic that moves through the neighbourhood which could make it unsafe for young children or the elderly.
Try the commute when buying your dream home
5. Commuting to work – Give serious consideration to the amount of time you’ll need to get to work from your prospective neighbourhood, and the impact the commute could have on your lifestyle. Be sure to factor in expenses like gas, insurance, maintenance and even parking. Check out the access to public transportation.
6. Keep your eyes open – Look around when considering a new property. Is it located next to a gas station that’s open all night? Is there a creek nearby that could be prone to flooding in bad weather? Don’t be caught by unpleasant surprises after you’ve closed the deal and moved in.
7. Long-term changes – Do a little research to find out if there are any changes planned for the future of the neighbourhood that could affect your quality of life or the value of the property. Again, search the online archive of the local paper. Drive around to see if there are signs posted for proposed zoning changes or construction projects. Chat up the neighbours, pop into the closest coffee shop to check notices on the community bulletin board.
The perfect home extends beyond the property you’re buying. If you make sure there are no unpleasant surprises you’ll be able to fully enjoy your dream home. You’ll also protect your investment.