"Location, location, location" is a phrase you'll hear early and often when you start looking around for a new home. Some real estate agents will say it so much that it might start to sound like white noise to you after a while.
But there's a good reason for it: Location is still one of the most important aspects, if not the most important aspect, to consider when purchasing a new property. It's significantly more important than how many bedrooms a house has or how new the kitchen inside of it is.
Because of this, you should always research a new neighborhood before you decide to move into it. Otherwise, you might end up spending the foreseeable future living in an amazing home that's located in the wrong part of town.
Here are tips that'll help you do your homework on your potential new neighborhood before you buy a home.
Drive Around the Neighborhood to See What It Has to Offer
The first thing you'll want to do when you're thinking about moving into a new neighborhood is drive around the neighborhood to see exactly what it will have to offer to you. You can also walk around the neighborhood if it's on the smaller side.
Scan the homes in the area to see what kind of condition they're in. Keep an eye out for stores, parks, and other amenities that you'll get to use if you decide to live in the neighborhood. Find out if the neighborhood is situated near public transportation.
Your goal should be to get a good feel for what a neighborhood is all about prior to moving into it. The last thing you want to do is move into a home only to realize that it's located 20 miles from the nearest food store or right near a busy highway.
Check Out the Property Values for Homes in the Neighborhood
If you like what a neighborhood has to offer to you, the next thing you should do is check out the property values for the homes that are located in it. See how much other homes are selling for in the area and, maybe more importantly, see how quickly they're selling.
If the property values are high and people are snatching up homes in the neighborhood at a rapid pace, there's a good chance you're shopping for homes in a desirable part of town.
But don't just check out what the property values are for homes today. Use the internet to look back and see how the property values in the neighborhood have gone up or down over the years.
This should indicate whether you're considering buying a home in a neighborhood that's on the rise or in a neighborhood that has seen better days.
Check Out the Taxes You'll Pay for a Home in the Neighborhood, Too
Most people who are looking to buy a home will spend all their time considering property values and forget about taxes. But the taxes that you'll have to pay to live in certain neighborhoods could very well price you right out of them.
Make sure you check out the taxes for your potential new neighborhood to see how high they are. You don't want to wait until you move into a home to realize that the taxes are way higher than you expected them to be.
Take a Look at the Crime Rates for the Neighborhood
Has there been a bunch of break-ins in the neighborhood that you're interested in moving to? That's something you'll obviously want to know prior to purchasing a home.
There are lots of online tools you can use to see how safe a neighborhood is (or isn't!) before putting an offer in on a home. You can inspect the local crime rates and find out if you have anything to worry about when it comes to a certain neighborhood.
See Which Schools Kids in the Neighborhood Attend
If you have kids and you're planning on sending them to public schools, you'll want to locate a neighborhood that funnels kids to the best public schools in the area. Read reviews about the local school district to see what your best options are.
And even if you don't have kids, you should still consider which schools kids in a neighborhood attend before moving into it. If you move to a neighborhood that isn't connected to great schools, it could hinder your ability to get top dollar for your home later.
Speak Directly With Those Who Live in the Neighborhood
The best way to find out as much as you possibly can about a neighborhood is by asking those who live in it.
Not everyone feels comfortable walking around and talking to people in front of their homes about how they like living in a neighborhood. But there are ways you can connect with people from specific neighborhoods rather easily.
Most neighborhoods have social media pages set up that you can join with a click of your mouse. Once you're granted access to a page, you can ask people for feedback on a neighborhood and see what they like and don't like about it.
Within a matter of just a few hours, you'll get all kinds of valuable information about your potential new neighborhood. You can use that information to make your final decision.
How a Realtor Can Help You Select the Best New Neighborhood
As you can see, there are many steps you can take on your own to research a potential new neighborhood. But you should also know that you don't have to do all your research on your own.
A realtor can tell you just about everything you could possibly want to know about a neighborhood. From property value trends to school system evaluations, they can get their hands on whatever you need to get a better understanding of a neighborhood.