When looking for a home most buyers are concerned with whether they are purchasing in a "good area" and whether they will like the neighborhood. I encourage my clients to look at several items when considering a purchase in a neighborhood to help make the decision on whether to move forward.
We start with safety first so that you do not fall in love with a neighborhood only to discover that you do not feel safe in the area. As a Realtor, I cannot speak to the safety of an area, so I provide information to my clients about the rate of turn over as well as the stability of home value in the area. The homework for my clients is to check the crime statistics and Megan's Law information to get a feel for the area. I often encourage them to compare the statistics to where they currently live as you may be surprised.
If having a amenities such as a pool, tennis court, playground, common areas, etc. are important to you then let your agent know. When considering a neighborhood with amenities drive through those areas and check whether they appear to be maintained and in good condition. Some areas have pools or playgrounds, however they may no longer be functional due to the owners in the area choosing for their HOA dues to be spent elsewhere.
Commute and Convenience
Is being close to work and shopping important to you? Or would you rather be in a semi-isolated area? These are important to consider as you will be living in that home for years to come. Traffic patterns can also impact your commute, so even consider driving your commute to see if it works for you.
The Night Life
Driving through the neighborhood at night will give you a feel for what if may be like when you are home relaxing in the evenings. You may find that the next door neighbor of the house you like spends their evenings blasting music and having many people over with their cars parked on the street. These are important to consider as you cannot change your neighbors and houses to not have a 30 day return policy. It is also wise to drive through a neighborhood on a Saturday morning and early afternoons to see if people feel comfortable walking in the neighborhood or having their kids in the front yard. Even spend a Saturday simply driving through neighborhoods in an area you like to get a feel for what would be a good fit for you.
If you are looking for a neighborhood with well manicured yards and driving through see that many of your potential future neighbor's yards are in disarray, this may not be a good fit for you. Likewise, if you would like to live in an area with a minimal restrictions or no HOA check out the overall upkeep of the homes. You can also check with your agent to see if they can pull a copy of the restrictions and covenants for the community.
Even if children are not in your future or are not planned for some time, the schools that the neighborhood is zoned for are worth considering as it may impact your re-sale value. Take a look at the district websites, chat with any friends in the area, and research to see if the schools have a good reputation.
These are just some of the items to consider when looking into different neighborhoods and this often depends on the availability of houses. Ultimately, a house is an investment as well as a home so you will want to do your due diligence in making sure you will be comfortable there. Questions about buying or selling in the greater Columbia area? Call or email today!