How to Evaluate a Good Neighborhood when Buying a House
"It's important to choose the highest quality neighborhood when buying a house. It's not only good for you and your family, but you will realize the highest increase of appreciation. In other words, your property value will rise faster in a better neighborhood." - Regina P. Brown, San Luis Obispo, CA
Home buyers don't buy HOUSES. They buy NEIGHBORHOODS. In fact, neighborhoods are more important than individual houses. If you have a house for sale, and a prospective buyer drives down your street, and feels uncomfortable with the neighborhood atmosphere, they will keep driving. They won't even want to view the inside.
Curb appeal does not apply only to 1 specific house. Think about it, what if you have a perfectly painted house and a neatly manicured lawn, but your next-door neighbor has a junkyard in his driveway that looks like Sanford & Son? That makes your house less desirable. So curb appeal applies to the entire street, and even the neighborhood.
Have you ever looked at a photo of house on Realtor.com and it looks fabulous? And you think to yourself, WOW! What a great price for that top quality house, I've got to check out this great bargain. So you hop in your car and drive over to the house to view the outside. But when you drive down the street, you see abandoned houses, boarded-up windows, paint peeling, weeds 2 feet high, rusty cars without wheels in someone's driveway, ripped up furniture on porches... and then you understand why this otherwise nice house is priced so low. Because its value is influenced by the entire neighborhood's pride of ownership (or lack thereof).
Be smart about resale, look for areas that you know the neighborhoods are safe and good school districts. Now thats resale for you baby!!