Vet the Neighborhood Before You Buy

You’re thinking about buying a new home. The house is perfect and the location is great, but how do you know if the neighbors match up? Before you make your home purchase final, there a few things to do in order to avoid home burglaries, neighbors with yappy dogs or any other less-than-wonderful neighborhood issues.

Get the inside scoop about foreclosures

Wondering if the street where your dream home is located is also home to a few foreclosures? While you can pay to subscribe to bank-owned lists, many real estate agents will have that information as well. The reason to be concerned is because a neighborhood with a higher amount of foreclosures can potentially drag your home value down.

Look up crime stats

Most cities now make crime data publicly available on maps and there are a few nationwide crime report maps that allow you to look up specific neighborhoods. Compare and contrast areas to see what the area looks like the best fit for you.

Visit at all hours

The absolute best way to get a sense of a neighborhood is to visit it repeatedly at all times of the day and night. Are there dogs that bark all day long? Do neighbors host raucous parties on weekends? The only way you’ll know is to spend some time walking around and visiting parts of the area. If you can’t get to the area during the week, have a trusted friend do some surveillance for you.

Talk to someone

If you happen to see someone outside their home, or out walking, ask them what their sense of the neighborhood is — the kind of people who live there, the street traffic or any other burning questions you may have. If you can’t grab a neighbor, talk to the mail carrier. As someone who frequents the area often, a local mail carrier will be able to give you his or her sense of the neighborhood.

Do online research

The Internet is a wonderful place. With a few, simple strokes of the keyboard and a few key phrases entered into your favorite search engine, you can find information on just about anything. Type in the neighborhood’s name and find blogs and news articles about the ‘hood. By doing your research, you’ll soon be able to piece together a pretty good idea of what the neighborhood is like.