Checking Out The Neighborhood: When You Buy A Home, You're Buying Around The Home, Too

If you're about to buy a new home, the way the house looks and the way it was constructed are crucial, but so is the quality of the neighborhood. It's easy to look up school rankings and crime rates, but those give you only a snapshot. If you're going to move into the neighborhood, you need a more in-depth view of what's really going to be around you. In a hot market where houses sell fast, you may need to do this ahead of time for neighborhoods you think you might like, but if you have a little time, you can focus just on those where you've seen houses you like.

Watch Aerial Videos

Try to find aerial videos of the neighborhood. Some real estate agents offer drone videos of the property in question along with a flyby of the block. That shows you how neat or clean overall the property looks and how close it really is to any creeks or slopes nearby. (Creeks can be a flood risk, and slopes can be landslide risks in heavy rain.) If the agent doesn't have aerial videos, you can try looking at satellite maps, though check the dates on those -- they could be a few years old.

Read Social Media Feeds

Try looking up the name of the area or neighborhood on social media. Residents' Instagram posts, neighborhood Facebook feeds, and neighborhood blogs can all give you an idea of who is in the neighborhood. Remember that these accounts, especially individual ones, are just one bit of information, and you need a bunch to put together a comprehensive view. But they are valuable for figuring out how people interact, if there is a hidden crime rate, and more.

View the Neighborhood at Night

If you have time, go back to the neighborhood at night and at different times during the next week. A quiet weekday doesn't mean the weekend isn't going to be a loud-stereo nightmare. You also need to get a feel for the place. Many neighborhoods change at night, but many others don't. You have to be sure you feel comfortable with the place at all times.

Your real estate agent can help you devise other strategies for checking out the area. Don't be afraid to ask. You can also try calling police departments (the non-emergency line) to see if someone there has more insight as to how many times the police have had to go out there. Your work will pay off.

About Me

Paring Down Your List of Homeowner Must-Haves

When I started saving for my first house, I started thinking about the different things that my place absolutely had to have. In addition to an open floor plan and a nice neighborhood, I also wanted a beautifully landscaped yard, granite countertops, and a jetted tub. Unfortunately, my real estate agent explained that those items would be hard to find with my budget. I want every homeowner to know what they might be able to expect with their budget, which is why I am putting up this blog. By educating yourself, you might be able to find the right home a little sooner, and avoid wasting time.