Excellent advice from Greg Nino who has laid out things that buyers need to do on their own to make sure the prospective neighborhood is right for them. Talking to neighbors, getting to know the people you'll be living around is great advice!
No one want's to live next to thuggery. Realtors know their neighborhoods and they know their markets, but crime detectives and criminal data bases they are not. Consumers need nothing more than to rely on good old fashion instinct, common sense and easy detective work.
Good Old Fashion Instinct:
Is the house you want to buy in a questionable neighborhood? Get in your car and drive through the neighborhood after five p.m. Do you see cars on center blocks, people lifting weights in the culdesac and others aimlessly wondering the streets like zombies? If these unsavory sights bother you then you probably aren't in the best neighborhood.
Any Realtor with a half a brain will not attempt to discuss crime statistics with you. They know the liability of being "wrong" could prove to be too risky, not to mention expensive. This is why most agents will direct you to websites that offer criminal statistics. Common sense should tell you crime happens EVERYWHERE. Are you looking for a $50,000 home? Odds are you're going to find yourself in a very undesirable area when it comes to resale value, neighborhood appeal and overall community gleam.
Does the neighborhood swimming pool have razor wire around its fences? Believe it or not, these exist in some neighborhoods. I often wonder if the home owners association installed these not to keep people out, but to keep them in.
Easy Detective Work:
What happens when you try and talk to the neighbors? Do they run from you when you pull up because they think you're the police? Do they hide behind the curtains in their windows? Are there angry Pitt bulls chewing on their chain? What kind of cars are parked in the drive way? Do you see babies running around without parents in diapers at the intersection?
99% of the time a consumer can EASILY get these types of answers on their own. It almost ALWAYS comes down to price. You have to pay to play. You can't live in a gated community with armed protection and lavish neighborhood amenities if you aren't willing to pay for it. In Houston it's best to find a subdivision where the lowest price begins around $175,000. All communities and suburban subdivisions are different. The further out you go, the less you have to spend for "more land."
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