When an appraiser makes his property value assessment of a home, one of the things that is considered is the neighborhood in which it is located. This can be an influencing factor on the home’s value and it is also something that the homeowner should give a lot of consideration to before they purchase a house. In general, there are several common considerations such as the quality of the schools, crime rate, property values and traffic issues. There are several other items that you will want to consider along with the standard factors.
Cost of Commuting
Of course we will look at a neighborhood through our pocketbooks, but we must look a little further than just the price of the home and property taxes. Think about how much it may cost to commute to and from work. It will be difficult on the budget if the mortgage “saves” you $25; but the commute to work costs you $85 more in gas. Think about where the property is located in relation to the workplace, school options and other public places such as museums, shopping malls or other attractions.
Ask Existing Residents
It is a good idea to visit the neighborhood at different times of the day or night. Even though your first impression of the people and the various activities that may be occurring are generally trustworthy, some neighborhoods can be totally different at various times of the day or night. You can also ask questions of some of the residents that already live in the area. They will generally be very honest about the safety of the neighborhood and the noise. This can offer you a very good assessment of what the community is really like.
Think About the Future
When considering the neighborhood you want to live in, it is wise to look past today and into the future. One aspect to consider is any future construction that is being planned. It is important to know if there are plans to add a mini-mall, a boutique, or even a prison in the area. These can all have a large influence on property values as well as property taxes. You will also want to do a little bit of research and locate a community that is likely to be considered a “hot neighborhood” in the next few years. Usually, these are in outlying areas of some of the most popular and desirable areas. It may be possible to purchase a home that is in a neighborhood that is further outside the city.
Crime and Safety
There are several ways to find out about the crime in a specific area. Urban areas, especially some of the larger ones, have detailed crime reports that are available to the public, smaller towns may only have some general information. You can drive around the area and learn a lot about the level of crime. But you may also check with the local police who will gladly offer you some information on how safe a community is or is not.
Think about other Alternatives
If you want to settle down in an affluent neighborhood that is out of reach for your present budget, there may be a couple of other options available. Instead of looking only at houses if you really want to be in a particular neighborhood, consider purchasing a condo, or a co-op. These can be affordable options that can get you in the neighborhood you desire to be in but at a greatly reduced price. This can be a way to purchase in a prime area that you would not otherwise have the means to purchase.