Six important things to look for in a neighborhood

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker

6 Things to Look for in a New Neighborhood

 

So you’re on the home-buying market. Congratulations! You’re probably already overwhelmed by decisions: colonial or ranch-style? Stucco or stone? One- or two-story? Carpet or parquet flooring?street-926389_1920.jpg

 

And that’s not even including one of the most important factors in any new home-purchase: location, location, location. It might not be everything, but it’s almost everything. It will determine your commute, change your social life, shape your children’s education, and affect a host of other aspects in your life.

 

Depending on your city, you probably have your own dream neighborhoods and avoidable boroughs. But in case you don’t — or if you want a bit more guidance as you do research — we at ABODO have put together a handy checklist of things to look for (and avoid) as you examine possible settings for your new house. Every day, we help thousands of people find the perfect apartment — in the perfect spot — for their needs, so we know what to look for.



  1. School Districts

If you don’t have children and don’t plan on having them, skip to the next item. But if you have a family — or think you might have one within the next few years — school districts should be a major component in your neighborhood choices. Sites like niche k12 offer testing statistics, user reviews, and contact information for hundreds of thousands of schools nationwide — public, private, and charter. In some cases, it might be a good idea to schedule a tour, or attend an open house, so you can get an idea of how your child (or potential child) might fit in with the culture and educational philosophy.

 

2. Property Taxes

You’ll be paying taxes on your house and the land it sits on, so it’s a good idea to know the general tax rate in the neighborhood you’re investigating, and what it gets you. If you’re in the market for a particular property, it shouldn’t be hard to find the value of the house and attendant land up for purchase, but if you’re unclear on that topic, you can always contact the county assessor for an up-to-date valuation. As for tax rates, the local government typically keeps those figures easily accessible online, but you’ll also want to look at other local entities requiring tax money: public schools, town administration, etc. And depending on your area, tax rates may be affected by a range of services. For example, in some cities tax rates are higher but include services like trash pickup and sewer, while smaller towns treat such services “a la carte’” for a lower property tax rate. It’s good to know not only how much money you’ll be paying, but where it’s going.

 

3. Neighborhood Parks

Local parks — state, county, or city — provide health benefits and recreational opportunities beyond your backyard. Sometimes, your lawn just doesn’t have enough space to toss a football around. Or you want to venture out for a picnic, go for a scenic jog, or ride your bike. Plus, studies show that nature sojourns are linked to lower blood pressure, reduced obesity rates, and mitigated pollution effects. If getting outside often is important to you, see what the local parks offer, such as tennis courts, basketball courts, or grills, and how well they’re maintained. Also consider the distance between you and the parks or trails — do you want to load up your bike and drive across town for every ride? If not, try to find a home with easy access to a bike-ped trail. Also, do a little research into which local parks often host festivals or concerts throughout the year. Armed with that information, you can decide how close — or far — you want to live to these events.

 

4. Crime Rate

Few neighborhood characteristics are as universally desirable as safety. Everyone wants the freedom to go for an evening walk without worry or leave their ground-floor windows open overnight. To check up on the crime rate in your potential future neighborhood, you could peruse the local police blogs or go on CrimeReports.com for a map of offenses as well as trends, or FamilyWatchdog.us for a map and details of nearby sex offenders. As little as a few streets can separate a safer neighborhood from a more dangerous one, so be sure to center your research around your potential home’s street address.

 

5. Natural Phenomena

We’re not talking about snowstorms or hurricanes here — you already know what region of the country you’re in. The big nature flag to watch for in your new neighborhood is whether you’re located in a floodplain. Flooding is huge for homeowners for many reasons: It lowers the property’s value, destroys belongings, and is not typically covered by homeowner’s insurance. Flood protection is a very expensive separate policy that you’ll absolutely want if you need it, but if you never do, it’s a lot of money down the drain. To check your property, visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center or FloodSmart.gov to see what your insurance bill might look like.

 

6. Eye Test

This neighborhood measure is the easiest to research: just take a look around and see how you feel. Do the yards look maintained? Are there people outside, enjoying the area and engaging in the community? Are the streets clean? How are the noise and traffic levels? Also stop by the neighborhood at night to see if anything changes. It’s a simple test, but it shouldn’t be underestimated.

 Have a productive day and I will see you at closing!

Brookfield Wisconsin real estate 

Tom                     Braatz Real Estate Agent
 
Coldwell Banker
 
Coldwell Banker
  • (262) 377-1459

  



 

Have a productive day and I will see you at closing!

 

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Rainmaker
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Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Wow I am falling out of my chair two Active Rain members who have not been on the platform well lets just say over a year:) and both write within an hour of each other:)) Tom nice to have you back, hope 2016 was good to you, Endre

Jan 31, 2017 09:43 PM #1
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Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459 - the sixth test is most important - the EYE TEST which will help in other things.

Jan 31, 2017 10:44 PM #2
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Michelle Carr Crowe,Altas Just Call...408-252-8900!
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

This is a great list of factors for buyers to consider when purchasing a home.

Jan 31, 2017 11:01 PM #3
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

This is a great list of factors - #3 is often not considered but should be!

Feb 01, 2017 03:50 AM #4
Rainmaker
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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Tom and nice to see you. Nice post and focused on the things that matter even if not for you. Unless you are dying in the home resale should matter.

Feb 01, 2017 06:25 AM #5
Rainmaker
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Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is good information to share with prospective home buyers.

Have a most productive February.

Feb 01, 2017 08:32 AM #6
Rainmaker
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Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Great post, Tom! 

And the pictures look lovely. I like the pink blooms especially:) 

Feb 22, 2017 09:08 PM #7
Rainer
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Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

Tom Braatz, it's a good thing Waukesha County buyers have you to help them consider these important neighborhood things when home shopping.

Mar 01, 2017 05:36 AM #8
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Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459

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