Location, location, location. It’s the crux of real estate. But when it comes to buying a home in a new neighborhood, there are other factors to consider in addition to the location itself.
If you’re planning on sticking around your new neighborhood for the long haul, or want to raise a family in a good area, you’d be well-advised to do some homework and research on the community you’re contemplating. A bunch of factors go into figuring out of the desirability of a specific house and the community it’s in.
So how do you know if the neighborhood you’re looking at is right for you?
Ownership Rates Are High
Neighborhoods that have a much higher proportion of owners compared to renters are considered much more stable. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, such as the high percentage of renters in downtown New York City or San Francisco. But for the most part, if the neighborhood you’re looking at features more owners than renters, it’s a good sign of a stable area.
Not only that, but owners tend to take better care of their properties. After all, they own them, and obviously have a much higher vested interest in the properties. Your realtor will be able to provide you with these types of stats for areas you’re looking at.
Properties That Retain Their Market Value
Certain neighborhoods hold home value better than others, which was evident during the most recent housing crash. Areas where property values remained relatively stable during these trying economic times are more likely the types of areas you want to call home.
Even if you plan on living there forever and have no intention of selling for a profit, it’s still nice to be able to build equity in your home from appreciation alone. You can find information like this from historical sale prices from your county’s tax records office, or else your realtor will be able to provide you with such important info.
It’s a Decent Commute to Work
Houses that are situated nearby major city centers and big employers are in high demand. Especially these days, younger professionals are a lot less likely to want to drive far to work compared to previous generations. The closer the neighborhood is to these business hubs, the better.
Neighborhood Schools Are Rated High
If you have kids, you want to make sure the school within your district is a good one with a healthy reputation. The local school district is typically an important factor to consider when purchasing a house.
Even if you don’t have kids, schools make a big difference for many buyers, who will be more likely to pay more to get into the best school district. This will be a vital factor if you plan on selling some time in the future.
Public Transit is Readily Available
If you can easily and quickly get to a bus stop or subway line, thats good news. Properties with easy access to public transit are generally more valuable compared to those that are not. Among the many factors that are considered when determining a property’s value, proximity of public transit is one of them.
In fact, properties within half a mile of high-frequency public transit routes and stops are worth an average of 42% more. But don’t pick a home that’s too close to these routes – homes that are beside train tracks can actually lose value instead. No one wants to live beside noisy trains or buses.
Home and Neighborhood Improvements Are Noticeable
If you see homes being renovated or even rebuilt, that’s a good sign of a healthy neighborhood. Home owners that are investing a lot of time and money into their properties show that they value their neighborhood, and so should you. And if the city is pouring in money into improvements – such as new sidewalks, trees, etc – that’s also a good sign of a neighborhood that’s nowhere near close to heading south in value.
Your home is purchase is a big one, so you want to make sure you do your due diligence and scope out the area you plan on buying in before you fork over the big bucks. There are tons of signs that the neighborhood is perfect for you to plant some roots. To take things a step further, tap into the experience and knowledge of your real estate agent to find out if the community you’re considering moving into is the right one.