When you’re on the home-buying market, location isn’t everything — but it’s a lot. Where you live determines your commute, affects your social life, and shapes your children’s education.
Depending on your city, you probably have your own dream neighborhoods and boroughs you’d rather avoid. But in case you don’t — or if you want a little guidance as you do your research — ABODO has put together a handy checklist of things to look for (and avoid) as you examine possible settings for your new house.
If you don’t have kids and don’t plan on having them, skip to No. 2. But if you have a family, or think you might have one eventually, school districts should be a major part of assessing a neighborhood. Sites like Niche k12 offer testing statistics, user reviews, and contact information for thousands of schools nationwide — public, private, and charter.
2. Property Taxes
When you move, you won’t only be paying for your house — you also pay tax on the land it sits on. So it’s a good idea to know the general tax rate in a potential new neighborhood. The county assessor provides up-to-date valuations of homes, and local governments keep tax rate info available online. You should also look into other local entities requiring tax money: public schools, town administration, etc. In some cities, tax rates are higher but include services like trash pickup and sewer, while smaller towns often bill such services “a la carte” for a lower property tax rate. It’s good to know not only how much money you’ll be paying, but where it’s going.
3. Crime Rate
Safety is a universally desirable neighborhood characteristic. Everyone wants the freedom to go on an evening walk without worry, leave ground-floor windows open overnight, and to lock bikes up outside without worrying about them getting stolen. To check up on the crime rate of your potential neighborhood, peruse local police blogs or visit CrimeReports.com for a map of offenses, as well as trends.
4. Natural Phenomena
We’re not talking about snowstorms or hurricanes here — if you’re buying a house, you probably already know what region of the country you’re in. But knowing if your new house is located in a floodplain isn’t as obvious. Flooding is huge for homeowners, for a number of reasons: It lowers the property’s value, destroys belongings, and is not typically covered by homeowner’s insurance. Flood protection is a separate policy, and you’ll absolutely want it if your home is in a floodplain. To check, visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center or FloodSmart.gov.
5. Eye Test
This neighborhood measure is the easiest to research: Just take a look around and see how you feel. Do the yards look maintained? Are there people outside, enjoying the area and engaging in the community? Are the streets clean? How are the noise and traffic levels? Also stop by the neighborhood at night to see if anything changes. It’s a simple test, but it shouldn’t be underestimated.
If you are thinking about buying or selling in and around the San Antonio area, contact Jerry at 210-789-4216 or visit my website at Homes For Sale in San Antonio for more information.