Moving to a new state or neighborhood can be a bit scary. It’s a big decision, so you’ll probably want to learn everything you can about the area. Here are a few different ways to research a neighborhood before buying a home.
Give yourself a tour
At home showings, you normally drive up to a home, visit for a short period of time, and then leave. There’s little time to get to know the actual neighborhood. So, here’s a thought. If you like a particular area, come back and give yourself a tour. Drive up and down nearby streets. You may even park and take a walk. This can give you a different sense of the neighborhood, especially if you visit at different times or day or different days of the week.
Talk to neighbors
Neighbors are generally nosy, so they can be a wealth of information. Find a friendly neighbor to chat with. Ask them about the area, what they like, what they would improve, what changes are planned, etc. They may even have some history on the house that you’re interested in buying. Neighbors can provide valuable insight.
Visit town/city hall
If you want more information on a particular plot of land or surrounding ones, stop by town/city hall. They can normally show you a community plan with boundary lines and other information. They can also tell you about any proposed developments.
Read the local newspaper
If you want the latest scoop on politics, crime incidents, local businesses, etc., pick up the local newspaper. They may even have an online version that you can easily find. Browse through headlines to get a feel for what goes on in the area. Newspapers can also tell you more about the city/town culture.
Run a Google search
Almost everything is online these days. Running a Google search can help you find a variety of information on the city/town, neighborhood, street, or specific house. You may be surprised at what you can learn!
It’s always a good idea to check different sources of information, to overcome bias from any one source. Plus, no one can know everything. By checking the various resources above and relying on your own impressions, you can get a better sense of what a neighborhood and home has to offer. This will help you make better home buying and investment decisions.
By Suzanne Plewes, RE/MAX Alliance in Loveland. Suzanne is a broker associate at RE/MAX Alliance. Write to 750 W. Eisenhower Blvd., Loveland, CO 80537, call 970.290.0373 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.