When looking for a new home to buy, it’s very easy to overlook other facts when the home’s interior is designed perfectly. The home has all the amenities you want such as smart appliances, granite countertops, spacious rooms and that ceramic tile floor you wanted. While the home’s design and features are certainly something to consider, ultimately how long you stay in the home be influenced by the immediate surrounding neighborhood. Here are some factors to consider.
You may have purchased a home with an affordable mortgage interest rate however property taxes can become a significant part of your expenses. If you moved from another state or even county, it’s a good idea to find out about potential taxes or local special assessments that will affect your budget. A good way is to confirm the amount with your realtor and title company.
Some of the best places to find reliable information about local crime statistics are at CrimeReports, SpotCrime, NeighborhoodScout and FamilyWatchDog. You’ll be able to review police activity and local trends. One good sign if if you see kids playing outside. If not, you may want to invest a security system, wireless cameras, and put out a “Beware of Dog” sign.
Access to Care
On the subject of safety, is the neighborhood close to a police and fire stations, emergency rooms and other pertinent services in the event of an emergency? We all know too well of a hurricane’s affect on residents in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas, and fires in California. You want to have emergency personnel or shelters nearby.
Important deal breakers for some people are how close it will be to their favorite eateries, grocery stores, gym, bank, shopping and volunteering opportunities. If you’re used to a 1-2 mile convenient and the new home is 5-to-10 miles away, that could be a big problem. Are you a person who needs a Trader Joes, WholeFoods or Sprouts Market nearby? If you are person that actively participates in volunteering in your community, make sure you still have that opportunity where you’re moving to, especially if it’s one of your passions. Did you know that a neighborhood located near numerous retail stores, helps maintain or increases home value if you choose to sell later on.
Schools are a very important element as a home buyer. The quality of schools in the neighborhood can influence the future value of the home. By a wide margin, families prefer a highly rated school district. To determine the school’s rating GreatSchools is a great source.
Don’t be nervous to be the one who starts a conversation with people you may find yourself becoming next door neighbors. To be honest, they’ll be very interested in meeting their prospective neighbors. Find out if there are block parties, how many young families are here, any people with aggressive dogs, best hangouts, their favorite local places, parks, how many years they’ve lived in the area, and more about the community. Some research should be done yourself but it never hurts for a neighbor to confirm what you researched. The better you know your neighbors, the easier it is to ask them to watch your home while you’re away on a trip.
Sights, Sounds and Smells
Identify warning signs in the neighborhood. Are homeowners maintaining their yards, does one neighbor have 10 or more unsightly cars parked outside, are there college-aged kids stationed on the street all day? Is there a cow slaughter house within 5 miles away? The stench can travel your way depending on the time of day.
Find out Opinions of Former Residents
People love sharing their opinion on places they’ve lived. Online discussion forums like Reddit and City-Data are good places to inquire about your new neighborhood for relevant advice from people who know best.
There are a few tax breaks for someone moving due to a new job or relocation. The frst thing you want to do is to be sure to keep all receipts for your moving expenses so you can write it off on your taxes. If you’re selling your home and you lived in it for more than two years, you may qualify for a capital gains tax exemption. If it’s been under two years, and your new job is 50 miles or more away from your current home you may qualify for a partial exclusion.