You are not just buying a home – you are also buying a neighborhood. One person’s neighborhood glories are another’s warts. A perfect example is proximity to nightlife and clubs – for some homebuyers that would be a turnoff, but to another it might be appealing to be within “stumbling” distance to the nearest club.
Here are 5 things you should consider:
1. The time of day when you first lay eyes on a prospective house can affect your impression of the neighborhood, so it would be recommended to visit at different times of the day. A neighborhood can be totally different at night than it is during the day.
2. Neighborhood choice could be a pocketbook issue and not just because of the house and property taxes but commuting costs – time and money are both critical. One home might be $10 cheaper on the mortgage than another home but the “other” home might cost you $80 more in gas to get to and from work or school.
3. If you are comfortable with it, ask questions of people who live in the neighborhood. You could go for a walk around doggie walking time and just pass by and say “hey, I am thinking of buying a home in this neighborhood – can you share your thoughts about it with me?”
4. The Internet is very helpful for researching the “nitty-gritty”. Neighborhoodscout.com, for example, is a subscription service that offers in-depth looks at such considerations as crime stats, school performance data and price-appreciation/depreciation records of area homes. Crime stats for Tucson can be found at http://www.pimasheriff.org by zip code or http://www.trulia.com/crime.
5. Some neighborhood characteristics can be hard to cram into numerical categories or scores. http://www.nabeWise.com has taken 65 “quality of life” characteristics and set them up as criteria for neighborhood-hunters. For example, you can actually search for “trendy” or “clean” neighborhoods, neighborhoods with liberals or conservatives. Maybe you want to be near farmer’s markets or public transit or nightlife, as we mentioned in the beginning of this article. You just need to fill out your “checklist”.
Director of Relocation