Selecting the right neighborhood goes hand in hand with finding the right home to purchase. Many people will weigh features such as waterfront location, school ratings and proximity to the beach or parks. Other factors including budget, taxes, assessed values and operating costs will also be considered. However, while some of these factors are important, there are other things that you may want to consider as you learn if a neighborhood is right for you. Here are a few tips to consider in your search.
- High barriers to entry: The zoning restrictions for a community and patterns for development can be a good indication for what to expect for the area’s future. In other words, communities that are more strict and preserve their culture are typically more desirable places to live.
- Pricing predictability: An effective way to forecast how a home will retain its value is to see how it has performed in past cycles. It certainly is not possible to exactly anticipate how the future will affect pricing, but you can surely see historic data and trends that may show how well an area will weather a volatile market.
- Rate of homeownership: Another gauge is the percentage of owner-occupied homes in the neighborhood. Generally speaking, owner occupied homes are more likely to be upgraded over time. These improvements typically add value while creating stronger ties within the community.
- Safety: Communities with a higher rate of owner occupants also result in safer communities as residents become more vested in their neighborhoods. Research has found that there is a link between above average rates of homeownership and lower than average crime rates. For a full crime report visit the local police station in your neighborhood of consideration.
- Historical context: Long term residents and businesses in a neighborhood often feel a sense of pride in preserving their community. Historic preservation can help maintain a neighborhood’s character and value as we have seen in select areas across the United States.
A wise idea is to spend just a few hours perusing public records and meeting neighbors. A small investment of your time can be very valuable in making a smart purchase.