There’s an episode of the TV series “How I Met Your Mother” where the characters decide to buy a home only to learn later that it sits downwind from a sewer plant. The message is obvious: A buyer must do his or her due diligence on prospective neighborhoods to avoid those kinds of mistakes. Here are a few tips:
Investigate the surrounding area: Good schools boost your property value. Research the closest parks and community centers and consider how busy streets impact the neighborhood. Check out stores and restaurants in the area. You may be used to a 5-minute drive to the grocery store, only to find out that your new home is 25 minutes away from the nearest place to buy milk.
Get to know prospective neighbors: Walk through the area and say hello to people. Ask them for their impressions of the neighborhood. While you’re at it, look around. Are there lots of kids on the block? Do people walk or jog through the neighborhood at night? A neighborhood can speak volumes by itself.
Research the Homeowner’s Association: What are the regular fees? Are there lawn or construction restrictions? Knowing these things can really make an impact.
A good real estate agent can furnish you with a wealth of local information and take you on a tour of the closest commerce centers, restaurants and shops. A little groundwork will help ensure that your dream house is surrounded by a dream neighborhood.