Checking out the neighborhood

The location of a home determines its value and desirability; it also determines your overall satisfaction. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t just visit the prospective home on the weekends. What’s the traffic and the noise like on a Monday morning. Will you be on a school route? If possible, stay overnight nearby so you’ll have an idea of how things are on a workday 8am.
  • Check the sidewalks. Sidewalks are a safety measure and should be in good repair. The lack of sidewalks may mean that taking a stroll around the neighborhood could be a risky proposition,
  • Local foreclosures. Foreclosure trends can be a good indicator of the local job market as well as the state of the neighborhood long-term.
  • Local amenities. Do your homework on schools, crime rate, parks as well as nearby shopping.

Signs of Life: Check the Neighborhood

Home buying in an urban market can be a tricky business and Trulia has provided an excellent primer on what to look for n an up-and-coming neighborhood. Below are a few highlights:

  • Days on the Market: A steady decrease in the days homes are on the market is often a strong sign of a revitalized neighborhood, even before the prices actually increase.
  • Construction and remodeling: Are there new buildings going up and older ones being rehabbed? If so, this could be sign of a neighborhood coming back to life.
  • Organic grocery and other speciality stores: New restaurants, small boutiques, organic groceries and other speciality shops are strong signs that a neighborhood is changing and on the upswing.