Buying a home is an investment in the neighborhood as well as the house. In fact, the character and amenities of the neighborhood may be as important to the property value as the house itself. No matter what kind of neighborhood you are looking for, it is important to know its history and future when you decide to buy. Here is what to research:
1. Recent sales – Find out if the market is slow and what homes have been selling for.
2. Homes now for sale – What homes are listed in the area, and are they listed above past sales? This will give you a good idea of the area’s overall market value.
3. Home appreciation – Historical data on sales gives the best indicator of a neighborhood’s potential. Are homes appreciating at 3%, 5%, 10% or higher every year?
4. Schools – School scores and district boundaries are very important to research before moving into a neighborhood. The closest school is not always in your district, and school scores reveal if a neighborhood is invested in the schools’ success.
5. Crime – Get the hard facts about any problems in the neighborhood — don’t depend on anecdotal information.
6. Demographics and Growth – Find out how the area is growing and changing.
7. Community – Learn about neighborhood features, such as public schools, shopping areas, parks, commuting options and more.