5 Things to Look For When Checking Out a New Neighborhood

Make Your House Stand Out
When you are on the hunt for your next home, there is a lot to think about. Price and the home itself are just a small part of the choice. The other part: location, location, location. When picking your next neighborhood, be sure to keep these important factors in mind.

Crime

You don’t want to go home to a place where you are constantly worried about break ins, car theft, and walking around alone at night. Be sure to look into crime statistics so you know you can rest easy when your kids take the dogs out for an evening walk.

You can lookup crime statistics several ways. One of the easiest is with a popular real estate app like Zillow or Trulia. For more detailed information, you can look at the local city or county website for crime statistic reporting information by zip code.

Schools

Whether or not you have school age children, school quality can affect the value of a home. If you have young children, the value of quality schools is readily apparent. If you don’t, it can still impact resale value. Better schools attracts more buyers to the area overall, leading to higher home prices.

Like crime statistics, a great place to start looking at local school quality ratings is with real estate apps for iPhone or iPad, or whichever phone you use. Another good source of information is GreatSchools.org and similar rating sites.

Railroad Tracks

The last home I visited as a potential home was in the Southeast Portland Division Street neighborhood. We love the neighborhood and local amenities, but there is one thing that made this home a lot less desirable. It is less than two blocks from a major, high traffic rail line.

From several homes, I have been able to hear the train whistles on a quiet evening, even miles away from the tracks. Imagine living a block away. The late night train journeys could give you and your family a not-so-pleasant wake up.

Train crossings also impact traffic and emergency response times. I wouldn’t worry about being on the other side of the tracks in Porltand, but I would never want to live next to them anywhere.

Take a look at Google Maps to see if there are any tracks within a mile or so of any home before you buy, and be sure to hang around the neighborhood if there are to see if you can hear the trains go by.

Noise

There are huge benefits to living in mixed use neighborhoods, but it would be a big bummer to move into a new condo to find out that the bar downstairs turns into a nightclub a few nights a week.

When you are looking at a potential property, check out all the neighbors. Is the home near a school? Is it near an industrial business? A commercial business with regular hours? A restaurant or bar? Places open during business hours, or weekends?

Be sure to drive the surrounding blocks to see who is nearby and what type of noise you can expect.

Walkability

Younger home buyers are increasingly interesting in buying homes where they can walk and bike to work and nearby restaurants and bars. Gone are the days where all Americans dream of a big house in the suburbs. Urban living is making a strong comeback.

Popular real estate apps usually show a walk score and transit score, but you should also double check using the popular Walk Score website. My current home has a walk score of 78, a transit score of 46, and a bike score of 87. I can do most errands nearby and live in a fairly flat area, but transit options are limited.

Take a look and see how your next home scores and enjoy everything your new neighborhood has to offer!

Find the Best Agent

A great real estate agent will know all of this information and more. Be sure to interview and pick the best real estate agent for your needs and save yourself the hassle of finding a home all on your own.

If you are buying or selling a house and are looking to hire a successful real estate agent to help you through the process, take a look at AgentHarvest's list of top-ranking local Realtors in your area. We found these agents by examining their sales track records, awards, rankings, client testimonials and by conducting personal interviews.



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