Whether it’s your first house or not, there are some important things to think about before you start looking to find your next home. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 85% of homebuyers begin their search on Internet sites. That is certainly a great way to get a feel for what is available in the area you want to live in and how much homes generally cost.
Just as pictures of homes don’t tell the whole story about the condition of the home (you can't smell odors….), they also will not tell you much about the neighborhood.
SCOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD!
It is important that you scout the neighborhood in person. You live in more than your house.
- Talk to people who live there.
- Drive through the entire area at different times of the day, during the week and on weekends.
- Look carefully at how well other homes in the area are being maintained; are they painted, are the yards well cared for; are parked cars in good condition, etc.
OTHER NEIGHBORHOOD FACTORS TO CONSIDER --
- Look for things like access to major thoroughfares, highways, and shopping.
- Listen for noise created by commerce, roads, railways, public areas, schools, etc.
- Smell the air for adjacent commerce or agriculture.
- Check with local civic, police, fire, and school officials to find information about the area.
- Research things like soil and water.
- Look at traffic patterns around the area during different times of the day and drive from the area to work.
- Find out if the neighborhood is near parks, churches, recreation centers, shopping, theaters, restaurants, public transportation, schools, etc.
- Find out if the neighborhood belongs to a Homeowner’s Association.