“Doing your homework” has a special
meaning when buying a house. There is a tendency to focus on the
home itself—it's size, it's backyard, the kitchen and family room,
etc.. The buyers will concentrate on the number of bedrooms, and
baths, and how they can negotiate the best price for the home once
they have found the ideal place.
While that is normal, and eminently
practical, there is another consideration that often is not fully
included in the consideration. That element is the neighborhood.
This may seem obvious, and most parents have already checked into the
school district and looked up and down their street for any obvious
issues for discussion with their agent.
But there is more—the extended
neighborhood. That extended neighborhood can affect your home's value
much more than might seem apparent. Before you consider a home, take
walks. Walk at least two blocks in each direction. Go for at least
two walks, and go at different times of the day. Note the troubling
issues—an empty lot that has trash accumulating in it, or an area
where noisy teens may be meeting at different hours of the day.
Next, note the positive elements. Perhaps there is a wonderful park
nearby that invites picnics and playing soccer. Another street may
have beautiful gardens, or attractive architecture.
Once you have done this, take at least
two drives and extend your circle out at least 4-5 blocks in each
direction. Again, do this at different times of the day, because
what you see at 9:00 am., is not what you see at 7:30 pm.. When you
have done this, and it does not take that long, sit down and consider
what you have discovered. You will be glad that you took the time,
because the future value of your home is composed of all of these