Before the housing crisis hit, it was a lot easier to tell a good neighborhood from a bad one. If the houses and yards were well-kept and the nearby schools were good, you’d be in a good shape.
Today, it’s not as easy. Some of the best-looking houses on the block could be in foreclosure. So, how can you determine whether a neighborhood has the features you like, and more importantly, will hold its value until you’re ready to sell?
Here are a few tips to consider in your search for the perfect neighborhood and new home for you and your family.
1. Imagine your dream neighborhood. Most people have a dream home in mind, but don’t put as much thought into the neighborhood. Spend time thinking about what features are important to you. Do you want to walk to stores? Do you prefer a historic neighborhood or a family-oriented environment? Compile a list to refer to as you begin your search.
2. Examine public services. Many towns and cities are cutting back on services they offer due to declining property taxes. Take a drive through a potential neighborhood and town to look for clues of financial trouble. Are the streets clean? Are the parks in good shape? Has the local library cut its hours? Read the local paper for clues.
3. Evaluate the schools. One of the most important decisions a parent makes is what school their child will attend. Even if you don’t have a family, school quality matters because when it comes time to sell, there’s an excellent chance your buyers will have children. Use online sources like GreatSchools.org to research local schools. Or take in a PTA meeting and talk with local parents to get the real scoop on how well or poorly the schools are doing.
4. Watch for clues. Does the neighborhood have a lot of For Sale signs, or cheap apartments for rent? Do you see many vacant store fronts? Those are signs an area might be in decline. Imagine yourself living in the neighborhood. If you run or bike, are the roads safe? Visit the area at different times of the day and night to listen for highway or airport noise.
5. Talk to the residents. Take time to meet your potential neighbors. Ask them how they like living there. If they’re not friendly or receptive to your questions, factor that into your decision process. If you buy, you could be living near them for years. You can always make improvements to a house, but you can’t change your neighbors.
Doing research and legwork on a potential neighborhood at the beginning of your new home search will pay off in the long run. If you’re in the market for new homes in Frisco, Texas check out the affordable, energy efficient models that North Dallas home builder Landon Homes has to offer. Visit the Landon Homes website to see the homes for sale at Greyhawk Estates, the Village at Willow Bay, or Austin Ridge at Lone Star Ranch.