How to Screen a Neighborhood Before Buying a House

When you’re about to buy a house, it is important to consider the neighborhood it is in. Whether you’re buying a home to rent, resell, or live in, the community around you will influence how satisfied you’ll be with your investment. That’s likewise vouched by the National Association of Realtor’s 2021 report that the quality of the neighborhood is the top deciding factor for buyers when choosing locations, followed by convenience to family and friends, convenience to jobs, and affordability.

While getting to know a place fully will take time, a little research here and there can take you far in knowing what you can expect once you move. So here are the activities we advise you to do before closing a deal.

Find the Nearest Business Establishments, Schools, and Medical Facilities

Hospitals, grocery stores, and financial institutions provide the basic services you need almost daily. Having these establishments nearby will make your life (or your tenants) a lot easier since you won’t have to spend much time, money, and energy to get to them.  And they’re essential for emergencies too!

In more formal terms, there’s what we call a neighborhood’s walkability score, a transit score, and a bike score. These scores measure how long you can reach different areas within the district from your property. It gives you an insight into how accessible and connected the other areas in the neighborhood are and the availability of good access roads, bike paths, and walkways. The higher the score, the more convenient the distances are.

You can check out Walk Score, a tool that measures a variety of these scores to evaluate how well your neighborhood is in terms of density, distance, and convenience. 

Research the Neighborhood’s History

Knowing how the neighborhood came to be and what transgressed its history helps you understand the dynamics of the present community and how the residents relate. You’ll understand why communities are tight-knit and why they hold regular community events. Understanding the local history will help you adjust and connect with the people quickly and more genuinely.

You can look up the history of an area through its local library, local museum, local school, and county offices.

Check the Area’s Hazard Susceptibility

Hazard susceptibility measures how an area can be easily affected and exposed to natural and manmade hazards. Natural hazards include flooding, earthquake, land subsidence, tsunamis, etc. On the other hand, manmade hazards include artificial threats to ground stability, civil disorder, and other intentional threats to a property’s safety.

While all home sellers are encouraged to disclose these hazards to prospective buyers, they’re not legally obligated to do so unless you ask them to. Due diligence on your part is still essential, so we highly advise you to do your research on the environmental conditions of your neighborhood and its surrounding areas.

You can refer to the Federal Management Agency for information on location-specific disaster susceptibility in Georgia or get in touch with your county’s local disaster risk reduction and management team.

Join A Community Gathering / Meeting

If your neighborhood has a homeowners’ association, they may have regular community sessions where you can listen in. In meetings and social gatherings, you get a closer glimpse of how the community supports each other and how active the HOA maintains the neighborhood’s physical and social landscape.  

You can also get a picture of the rules you’ll have to follow once you move in and whether the HOA fees are worth it.  

Do a Casual Stroll Around

How to get to know a community more than by walking the streets, experiencing the atmosphere 1st hand, and exploring on your own instincts? When you do this, we highly advise you to take your time and not do it hastily. Taking your time will give you a better awareness of the surroundings and maybe even spot details around the community that mere passersby often miss.  

Walking around can also help you assess the physical state of the neighborhood, which can affect your present and future property value. An area with plenty of vandalized properties, for example, may not suit well with other buyers, which can result in a reduction in demand (not sound if you’re planning to resell the property soon).

Visit the Area at Various Times of the Day

We also recommend you visit the neighborhood on various days and at multiple times. This is because social activities change temporally.  A real estate agent may invite you to a showing when the community is functioning at its best when in reality, there’s traffic, local wars, flooding, and other circumstances that may not be up to your taste.

This is most important when you’re bringing your family to relocate. Getting a safe place for them is imperative, especially when you have children and the elderly.

Talk to the Locals 

Lastly, apart from squeezing information out from your agent, talk to the residents (or even visitors who frequent the area). There’s no better way to assess the quality of social interactions in your neighborhood than from the residents themselves. Be friendly, courteous, and warm when talking to your future neighbors. Remember that they, too, can influence your quality of life when you move in.

If you’re less confident in evaluating locations, our HomeSold GA team can help you! When we look for homes for our buyers, we ensure that the neighborhood is on par with what they need and want. We can help you find the right home in the right neighborhood and help you make an irresistible offer for your dream property.

Call us today at 770-668-4888, and let’s talk!

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