*Guest Blog Post *
Whether you’re buying or renting, the idea of “location, location, location” being essential to a good real estate investment might seem like a cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
While there are plenty of factors you’ll need to think about when moving to a new house, from how many bedrooms you need, to whether you need a spare bathroom, there are few things more important than where you decide to lay your hat.
With a reliable real estate agent or Property Management Company at your side, you have the world at your feet, and endless opportunities to find a home that suits you perfectly. With that in mind, we’re going to cover just a few of the tips you can take with you when you’re looking for not just your dream home, but the ultimate community too.
1. KNOW YOUR BUDGET
Starting with something obvious, before you even start asking your local Indianapolis realtor to show you potential properties, you should have at least a basic idea of what you can afford to spend. You’d be surprised how many home-buyers get carried away in the process of looking for a new property and end up spending more than they can reasonably afford.
Realtor.com has a great calculator to help you determine a budget that will suit your lifestyle
Work with a broker to pick your income apart if that helps and remember to factor in the cost of moving as well as down payments and legal fees when figuring out how much you have to spend. For instance, you might want to work with a professional moving team to get your belongings from A to B safely, such as Bellhops Moving in Indianapolis.
Only once you know how much you can spend on a home can you begin to profile your perfect neighborhood.
2. DECIDE WHICH FEATURES MATTER MOST
Profiling a neighborhood is similar to profiling the perfect house. For instance, when you’re looking for a new home, you know that you not only need a certain number of bedrooms to cater for all the kids, you also need a great garden, a roof that isn’t going to collapse within five minutes, and maybe a good kitchen too. When it comes to finding the right neighborhood, you’ll need to look at things like:
- Whether there’s a school nearby that you’d feel comfortable taking your children to. Even if you don’t have kids yet, this is something to be aware of if you’re thinking of starting a family in the future. The school district your home is in will also be an important factor in resale value.
- How far away from work the neighborhood is: While some people don’t mind a long commute, others won’t want to drive an hour to work when they start early in the morning or finish late.
- What kind of community do you want? Are you looking for a child-friendly space with a local park, or something that’s more modern, with plenty of nightlife?
3. LOOK BEYOND THE “HOT SPOTS”
While it can be tempting to grab a space in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in your city, don’t jump into buying real estate in an expensive area just because it’s hot right now.
It may be in your best interest to spend less on a space that has the potential for growth and development in the future. If you can’t afford your dream neighborhood right now, try looking at areas in close proximity that might have a lower asking price.
You can also check out areas that are going to have amenities built nearby. If the town or city is putting a lot of investment into a space with new schools, hospitals, or even parks, you can rest assured that the area is likely to become more valuable in the future.
4. GO FOR A WALK THROUGH THE NEIGHBORHOOD
While conducting research online is a great way to get started when you’re trying to build a profile of a particular area – there’s nothing quite like visiting a place in person to get a feel for it. On different times of the day, preferably on various days of the week, take some time to go down and simply walk around the streets. See whether it’s busy in your potential neighborhood, and what kind of people hang around there.
If you’ve already seen a house that you’re considering buying, then you could always consider knocking on a few nearby doors and chatting with your neighbors. Few people can give you an insight into what life in an area is like quite like someone who already lives there.
Just try not to be too pushy if they don’t have time to talk.
5. PAY ATTENTION TO THE LITTLE THINGS
When looking for the right neighborhood, it’s easy to overlook the little things like taxes and other expenses in the area. You assume that the only costs you’ll need to worry about are the expenses of a deposit and actually buying the house.
However, the truth is that property taxes can have a strong influence on your cost of living. Don’t forget about the other expense that can crop up in certain areas too, such as homeowners association fees.
It may also be worth looking out for little things that aren’t associated with costs either. For instance, if you love hiking, is there a trail nearby that you can check out with your family? That might not be very high up on your list of priorities, but it could also be the thing that sets one neighborhood apart from another in your search.
6. DON’T LET STATISTICS FOOL YOU
Finally, while it’s important to be aware of what’s going on within your local area, don’t let crime statistics and other numbers fool you. Crime stats don’t always tell the full story, and when it comes to choosing the best neighborhood, the best thing you can do is speak to the local police department, and get input from brokers, business owners, and homeowners in the area.
It’s all-too-easy for local commissioners to trick the system by reclassifying misdemeanors to make the crime statistics go down. You won’t get a true idea of a neighborhood until you really immerse yourself in the community.
Whether this is your first rodeo or not, you need to go through the home buying process with the same care and due diligence every single time. A home is a big investment and it needs to be treated as such.
If equipped with the proper knowledge and an experienced Realtor, you should be able to find your ideal home and neighborhood in Indianapolis.
How did you find your perfect neighborhood? Let us know in the comments below!