Doing Your Homework

Posted by on Friday, April 10th, 2009 at 9:37am.

“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 elements.

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