Five Tips for Researching a Neighborhood

In addition to a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms, for many home buyers, a good neighborhood is near the top of the priority list. But, how do you research neighborhoods and know if one is a good fit for you and your family? We’ve compiled a list of tips to help buyers gain some insight into neighborhoods they’re considering.

  1. Talk to the neighbors – After work, or on the weekend, take a walk and talk to the neighbors. Find out if they know anything about the house you’re considering purchasing (it could have a history that was undisclosed), or if there’re any plans for major development, or neighbors that could be a nuisance.
  2. Google the address and neighborhood – We Google everything else, so may as well do a search on the neighborhood and address you’re thinking of moving into. We previously had a seller search their new neighborhood only to discover it was under a flight path and a few years earlier a plane crashed a few streets over. Its good to know if the area has ever been in the news.
  3. Check social media – Many neighborhoods have Facebook groups or websites that give basic information. See if there’s a similar group for the neighborhood and find out what others are saying. Another good source is www.Nextdoor.com or its app.
  4. Test your commute – Even moving a few blocks away can have an impact on a daily commute. If possible, try driving to the potential new home after work to get an idea of the afternoon traffic, then schedule time to head into work using the same route necessary in the morning. You might discover it takes several minutes to turn left out of the neighborhood, or there’s a stop light that seems to take forever, or even a train that goes by the same time each morning.
  5. Check crime mapping sites – Two services that are good indicators about a neighborhood are www.CrimeReports.com and the National Sex Offender website, www.nsopw.gov. Simply enter the address to search, or general area and a list of any reported crimes or registered sex offenders will appear. Families with children always find these types of sites useful when preparing to move.

There’s already a lot of stress involved when moving and no one wants to regret a home purchase when learning the next door neighbor mows his lawn at midnight or there’s repeated crime a block away. Researching a neighborhood takes time, but pays off when the buyer feels more confident about their purchase.