You all know that saying – “You can choose your friends, but not your family”. It kind of applies when buying a home too. You can choose your home but sometimes the neighborhood becomes that dysfunctional family member.
When the market was HOT HOT HOT it was very hard to research a neighborhood at different times of the week. But, now with most areas being a buyer’s market you as a buyer can take your time to walk, drive and snoop around the neighborhood.
When I first start working with buyers I ask if they have a certain neighborhood in mind. If they do I ask if they have spent any time there. If they haven’t I suggest that they do some research. Here is a list of what to check.
- Traffic at 7am
- Traffic at 6pm
- Traffic on Saturday morning.
- Spend some time hanging out on a Saturday morning or afternoon to watch the neighbors.
- Spend some time on a Friday or Saturday night watching the neighborhood.
Sometimes these steps help and sometime it isn’t even enough.
If there are some vacant lots or vacant land around do a title search to see who owns them, find out if there are any permits issued. If the neighborhood is part of an association ask to see a copy of the CCR’s (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions)
I also try and look in a bunch of backyards – yeah, I am nosy like that! You see any chicken coops? How many dog houses? Is there long grass and weeds. You see lots of toys? Are there home businesses in the area? You might want to contact the city.
I have lived in areas where the neighbors are amazing and I have lived in areas where the neighbors were as crazy as my Aunt Tutor.
Remember that house two doors down that is a dump? You may not mind now, but when you go to sell I bet a new buyer will. So be careful out in those neighborhoods – there are some crazy people living there!